Akeel Rashid

Mismanagement, lack of accountability push SKIMS Bemina in wrong direction of COVID fight!

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Srinagar: Lack of initiative together with lack of empathy and concern for the suffering patients make for a dangerous mix which is casting really bad light on what otherwise has every potential to evolve as the Valley’s best COVID hospitals.

You guessed it right…  SKIMS Medical College Hospital (JVC Bemina) is falling victim to the absence of imagination, creativity and concern on part of its administrators – the Medical Superintendent and the officials in her team.

“I was admitted here on Monday evening as COVID positive case, but it took the hospital more than 15 hours to provide me with the requisite protection gear,” complained a patient.

Similar complaint was also repeated by five more patients this reporter talked with. All of them said that they were provided with the necessary kits hours after their internment and that too only after they repeatedly asked for it.

“The simple thing is that you have to consistently ask for these facilities; otherwise you won’t get it,” they said.

“Even the doctors and nurses are very rarely seen around. They come, maybe once in the morning and another time in the evening and that’s it,” said a patient.

“No, this is not true; doctors and nurses are right there on the job. Yes they may not be seen around as often as in normal cases but you will have to understand that it is because they are dealing with a pandemic, a highly communicable disease. They operate as per a duty roster which is prepared after due diligence,” said an official from the hospital administration.

But when confronted with a few more queries, the official said “sometimes what happens is that instead of, say six nurses assigned to work for a six hour shift, what they do is that only three of them  remain available for a three hour shift and the remaining three cover another three hours. This means that instead of six nurses only three remain available at any point in time. This is an issue and we will look into it,” the official assured.

A doctor posted at the COVID facility confirmed that there is also provision for separate blankets, sheets and other bed furnishing as also for a separate bucket and things concerning personal hygiene of the patients.

“But unfortunately, instead of these things being readily available, sometimes patients have to virtually fight to get them – even hours after their admission here,” the doctor revealed.

“I came here two days back; after being interned on Tuesday afternoon, the same evening I was put on two drugs – Vitamin C and Thiamine Hydrochloride tablets. But you won’t believe that nobody gave these drugs to me for two days. I would have bought them from outside, but the problem is that I cannot move out of the hospital nor is anyone from outside allowed inside,” revealed another patient.

“I somehow managed the telephone number of the Medical Superintendent and brought it into her notice. She responded by shouting at me,” narrated another patient.

“Now somebody should please tell her that we are not at her mercy; the facilities we get do not come from her personal kitty. As citizens of a welfare state, our health and well-being is provisioned for by the government and the money that goes into it comes from the public exchequer only. Doctors, nurses and others including the Medical Superintendent are also paid from the same money for their services. They do us no favours; they are there for our service. Should they do it, they are welcome and deserve our gratitude; but if they don’t deliver, they must be shown the door. Period,” an angry patient added.

Repeated attempts to seek response from the concerned Medical Superintendent did not materialize.

“Unfortunate if such things are happening. Otherwise people must also appreciate that this hospital is one of the best COVID facilities in the valley – having far better track record of managing the pandemic patients, including the pregnancies of the COVID positive patients, a feat no other hospital has managed thus far,” said a senior official in the Health department.

About the shortage of drugs, he assured the issue would be looked into and addressed immediately.

“Actually the problem is that of coordination. Administratively, the SKIMS Medical College is managed from SKIMS Soura, which sometimes causes undue delays in certain matters. But this problem is flagged with the authorities including the Commissioner Secretary and will be ironed out soon,” the official said.

He also confirmed that there have been some complaints against the Medical Superintendent which are being looked into.

“An investigation is already underway against her by a committee headed by Dr. Umar Javed Shah; let’s see how it goes. But I assure you that the immediate issues related with COVID patients will be resolved right away,” the official assured.

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