He is not a doctor but a word of mouth has made him a “specialist” in orthopedic as he treats patients without any fear of being caught as health authorities appear to be in a slumber with no one questioning the ill-educated person as to how he treats patients without any degree .
Self-styled “Doctor” Lateef, as he is known in Khanmoh area on the outskirts of Srinagar, treats patients especially those suffering from orthopedic problems like disk, knee pain, back pain and similar diseases.
Lateef has not put up any signboard on his clinic. Patients reach Khanmoh Sumo stand and each and everyone directs you to the “doctor”
Coming from all parts of Kashmir and Banihal, Qazigund, Bhaderwah, Doda, poonch and Rajouri of Jammu region, for ‘specialized’ treatment for their pains in different parts of their bodies. Even patients who had visited Amritsar and other parts of the country are also visiting for a miracle from the “doctor”.
One has to come in the morning to get the name registered and wait endlessly for your turn to be examined by the “Doctor”. He is not examining patients on Fridays as he has kept the day to meet medical representatives of different companies for fresh orders of medicines.
Group of patients from far off places like Kupwara, Uri, Baramulla, Bandipora, Khag-Beerwah, Char-e-Sharief, Phakerpora had to hire Sumos from their places to reach Khanmoh in the morning to get examined by the “Doctor”. A host of patients told Kashmir Wire.
His day starts at 9.30 AM and ends at 6 PM. On routine he examines nearly 100 patients a day. Some of the patients who are from far off places visit their relatives in the vicinity of Khanmoh to be in time. However, those who have no kins in the vicinity had to spend nights in hotels.
Lateef has set up his clinic in his house where he not only treats patients but sells medicines as well. His wife and other family members are giving medicines to the patients after seeing the prescription. His other relatives administer injections to the patients. There are self-styled therapy experts also in the clinic who get in work at the instructions of the “Doctor”.
A hot cup of tea and a piece of bread is offered to the patients and their attendants at the waiting hall, a room of the house has been converted into a waiting hall. It is a self-service as all the family members are engaged with the patient -care.
Lateef is not able to write prescription properly but the names of medicines he has learnt by heart. “Dua bhi, shafa bhi Aur Dawa bhi”, is written on the bottom of the prescription. His knowledge could be judged from his remark on the prescription of a patient, instead of ‘chronic orthopedic’, he has written “kronic”.
He is not charging fee from patients but a paltry sum of Rs.20 is charged each patient other then amount of medicines to be given to the person who regulates patients from the waiting hall to the doctor’s room.
Naseema, a patient from Kawadara, who had been visiting the “Doctor” for over a year following knee joints problem said she had spent Rs.25,000 but relief to the problem is nowhere in the sight. “I have decided not to visit the doctor any more. He is giving medicines but there is no improvement”, she said.
Similar allegations were leveled by the other patients waiting in the house, who were sitting in benches set up in the lawns of the house. Asked who forced you to go to a doctor who is not qualified, they said they have heard from patients who had been treated by the specialist in orthopedics.
Kashmir wire approached director health services, Kashmir, many a times but his phone remained “engaged”. On the landline, the director did not bother to hear the problem not to speak about giving his comment on the tragedy