By: Ahmed Shabir
Anantnag: After Valley witnessed surge in Covid-19 cases last year, the authorities provided at least 22 ventilators to the Government Medical College (GMC) Anantnag.
Sanctioning ventilators to these newly set up medical colleges was meant to prepare them to deal with Covid-19 situation. However, nearly a year has passed after the healthcare facility got the ventilators, the patients continue to be referred to Srinagar hospitals for ventilation support.
Though authorities have installed some of the ventilators in ICU and Covid isolation ward but non-availability of the staff to run them is forcing doctors to refer the critical patients needing immediate ventilation support to different Srinagar hospitals.
A doctor posted in the hospital said the conversion of the district hospital into medical college two years ago has not helped in improving the healthcare at the facility but instead added to the mess.
“This is irony that around two dozen ventilators are available here out of which nearly one dozen were installed some three months ago. But there are no specialist doctors and para-medics to run them as a result of which critically ill patients have to be referred to Srinagar,” the doctor said.
Half of ventilators are gathering dust and rust as there is no one to operate them.
Another doctor said many of the patients referred to Srinagar die on way due to delay in treatment.
“Some patients, who suffer stroke, need to be put on invasive mode of ventilation immediately but a lot of time is lost during the travel to Srinagar as a result of which most of them die,” the doctor said.
Invasive mode of ventilation, he said, is not possible unless the hospital has enough medical and para-medical staff in Anesthesia department, which is supposed to operate this facility in wards and ICUs.
GMC, Anantnag started functioning two years ago from District Hospital building Anantnag after the same was converted into the medical college. It remains the major healthcare facility catering to the patients from four south Kashmir districts.
A source in the hospital rued non-seriousness of GMC authorities in developing the infrastructure at the facility despite huge fund availability.
“In last two years, government has released at least Rs 75 crores for infra development of the hospital but despite funds, nothing seems to have changed here,” he said.
He said the medical college sometimes does not have reagents for weeks even for the common blood tests like lipid test, KFT and LFT.
Medical superintendent, GMC Anantnag, Dr Iqbal, said GMC is running short of staff to provide invasive mode of ventilation to the patients.
“We have only non-invasive mode of ventilation available in ICU. Unless we don’t have enough staff available, invasive mode of ventilation needed by critically ill patients is not possible,” Iqbal said.