The doctors at Srinagar’s SMHS Hospital have come up with a novel step to discourage what they call a “pestering public practice”.
A handwritten poster pasted on the wall inside the medicine section of Accidents and Emergency department talks about hypertension, population explosion, and American supremacy at once.
The poster reads: “No Blood Pressure Checking In Emergency Except Emergency Patients – Order From Obama.”
A doctor on the condition of anonymity says that lot of people come here to get their BP checked “unnecessarily”—and that the poster has been pasted to discourage the practice.
Inside the Accidents and Emergency department, some six doctors in white apparels seated around a large table are dealing with scores of people pouring in. Test slips of pink and white colour lie scattered all over the table along with half a dozen BP apparatus. An obese lady is recalling her ten years of struggle with diabetes to a young doctor. She is cursing the well-known endocrinologists of the valley for “minting only money at their shops.”
An attendant of the emergency ward arrives at the scene and hurls an emergency ticket on the table before asking the busy doctor, “Check my BP”. The doctor responds, “wait!” But the attendant persists: “I have a patient in the ward, check my BP first.”
Another doctor pumping air into the apparatus looks surreptitiously with smile at the caught-up doctor. The doctor now turns to the attendant cum patient complaining of “uneasiness” in the crowded ward.
The doctor says sometimes we feel like, “we are designated as patient checking squad.”
When I ask the doctor to explain the reason to not be identified, he says, “Lal Singh (the former health minister) doesn’t want us to practice the freedom of expression!”
(Zafar Aafaq is an internee with Kashmir Life)