Akeel Rashid

Amid congested conditions Covid-19 is having a field day at Gousia Hospital

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Who is spreading the coronavirus?

Photo-Javed Khan/Kashmir Images

Srinagar: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” This picture (and several others lying with Kashmir Images) of Gousia Hospital in Srinagar’s Khanyar area exactly does the same – explain in great detail the abject lack of not only the imagination, but still worse, the scientific acumen of the Health authorities.

The crowded corridors of the hospital are a sad commentary on how the Health department is violating its own SOPs by allowing conditions wherein its guidelines vis-à-vis physical distancing are observed in breach.

No wonder until now nine persons from the hospital staff — including three doctors, three nurses, a laboratory technician and two nursing orderlies — have contracted coronavirus infection and have tested positive for COVID-19.

Now if this is the plight of hospital staff, who are usually far more careful than the ordinary people, and remain shielded in the protective gear, one could only wonder how many patients and their attendants visiting the facility may have ended up contracting infection in these over-crowded and physically cramped conditions at this hospital, remarked a patient who identified himself as Ghulam Ahmad Kawa from nearby Kaw Mohalla.

A laboratory technician working at the hospital, who didn’t want to be identified for obvious reasons, said “no arrangements have been made to segregate the patients coming with symptoms of influenza like illness (ILI) from the rest, including a huge rush of women who come regularly for consultations in gynecology and obstetrics after the closure of these facilities at JLNM Hospital Rainawari, which has been turned into a COVID facility.”

Then there are others also who come in for surgical, dental, ophthalmic, orthopedic and other emergent and non-emergency consultations.

“Even though a huge park is right there in front of the hospital which can be used for setting up an OPD (may be a tented one) for the patients with ILI, the Health authorities, and more specifically the Medical Superintendent of this hospital, do not seem to have even this minimal imagination,” the technician pointed out.

A doctor working at the facility said the patients and their attendants, as well as the hospital staff and all others coming to the Gousia Hospital are facing grave hazards, which are certainly avoidable, but which are not avoided for reasons one cannot understand.

This is just one indication of huge disparity in how the situation exists on the ground and what is being said in official claims about Health department’s COVID preparedness and response!

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