In Kashmir, Elite Covid-19 Patients Have A Separate Service?

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by Saima Bhat
Srinagar: As the Covid-19 positive patients are battling the dual battle, the first to fight the virus and the second to get the treatment in hospitals, it is again the “elite class” of influential people who are getting the best possible services in Kashmir. The Kashmir Nursing Home, located at the erstwhile power street, the Gupkar Road, has been spared for the elites only. Or at least, it seems so. 

Principal GMC Srinagar Dr Samia Rashid along with other senior doctors at Kashmir Nursing Home in April after discharging 13 COVID-19 patients. KL Image: Special Arrangement

The Kashmir Nursing Home (KNH), working under the Government Medical College, is the only place where the patients are kept in the separate rooms which have separate washrooms. “This hospital has a separate entry, it is placed in the middle of the City but there is no noise so obviously it comes the first preference for the politicians and the people with approach who are suffering from the Covid,” said an insider wishing anonymity. 

“This pandemic demands physical isolation, a neat and clean place, with doctors available day and night, and if a patient gets such a facility at the government hospital-level it comes as a blessing in disguise. This hospital has a separate dedicated ambulance as well,” he added.

KNH is a designated Covid Care Centre which has basic oxygen facility available but if the condition of the patient deteriorates then they are shifted to either designated Covid hospitals (DCH), which are tertiary care hospitals or DCH centres.

New building of Kashmir Nursing Home.

At KNH, which is a 40 rooms hospital with two operation theatres, two labour rooms and a ground floor exclusively for the diagnostic purposes, 24 beds at this hospital have been kept available for the use of asymptomatic Covid patients. The KNH is presently working under the Chest Diseases Hospital. 

Authorities are sending the asymptomatic Covid-19 cases to NIT, Kashmir University Zakura campus and the newly established centre in Rangret army camp, where patients are put in the general ward, a huge place shared by many people with common one or two washrooms. 

“The high profile people who availed the facility of this hospital include: Dr Naveed Nazir, the HoD of Chest Diseases hospital, Dr Muzaffar Jan, the paediatrician, Dr Yusuf Tak, coordinator DAK, the senior politician Ali Mohammad Sagar, his family of four members including his politician son Salmaan Sagar besides many more influential people,” said a source in the hospital.

“You are right that this hospital has been kept for some specific people like bureaucrats, administrators, judiciary, etc,” an insider, wishing anonymity said, “There is an order from the administration for the same but I can’t give you more details.” 

When Kashmir Life reached out to Dr Samia Rashid, the principle GMC, she refused to talk over the issue saying, “please speak to the divisional commissioner on this.”

PK Pole, the divisional commissioner Kashmir did not receive the call but asked to text. When Kashmir Life asked about the order from his office to GMC principle to spare the Kashmir Nursing Home for people from administration, if the need arises he did not respond back. Whenever he does, this story will be updated accordingly. 

The KNH was started by the Trust run by the Sheikh Abdullah’s family, which once provided the best services for the common masses with minimal charges. “I still remember the most eminent doctors including Dr Girja Dhar, Dr Ara used to see patients there and they used to charge just Rs 500 for a caesarean section. But now the hospital has been kept reserved for blue-eyed people only,” said Abdul Razak, a local resident in the area.

The facility was opened to commoners at the start of the crisis. Off late, however, it seemingly has been speared for administration and politics.

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