To Fulfil HC Directions, SKIMS Asks General Surgeons to Operate Cancer Patients



Barely some days after High Court (HC) issued notice to government and wanted to know the causes and remedial measures taken to control the increasing rate of cancer, the authorities at Valley’s lone tertiary-care hospital SKIMS have started a campaign to deceive the court.

Sources said that Director Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura Dr Showkat Zarger recently called a meeting of senior medicos of the hospital whereby the issue related to cancer cases and court notice was discussed.

As the high court has taken strong cognizance of the media reports that cancer patients were dying at SKIMS waiting for their turn to be operated, the Director to escape from the blame has asked general surgeons to operate upon the cancer patients they said.

“Dr Zarger asked his subordinates that to clear the backlog of cancer surgeries, general surgeons should operate upon the patients. Though according to the protocol only surgical oncologists can operate upon cancer patients, Director SKIMS to save his skin is trying to play with the lives of poor patients,” sources added.

A senior medico at the SKIMS said that Department of Cancer Surgery which was started in 2011 with the intention that like in other parts of world cancer surgeries will be operated by cancer surgeons only for better result, lacks the manpower and infrastructure even after five years of its establishment.

“Unfortunately till date this department is badly facing troubles in terms of beds, theatres, manpower and equipment. To simplify things if a person has heart trouble he should visit Cardiologist (heart specialist), if he has fracture he should visit bone specialist (Orthopaedician) and similarly a cancer patient should be treated by a Surgical Oncologist and not by a general surgeon,” he said.

Last December when late Mufti Mohammad Syed made his last visit to the hospital as Chief Minister he had promised to a group of civil society members to address such sensitive issues at SKIMS for better patient care. However, before Mufti Sahib’s could take a decision he expired.

“That time late Mufti Sahib was also apprised that two senior in service professors of SKIMS who indulge in private practice and were set to be members of the Governing Body and apical selection of this prestigious institutions. However, after investigating the matter late Mufti sahib was kind enough to keep that decision on hold,” the doctor said.

The medico said as the high court has appointed Advocate Bashir Ahmad Bashir as Amicus Curie to assist the court in the case after taking suo-moto cognisance of media reports about increase in the cancer cases during the past few years and lack of infrastructure to deal with the life threatening disease, SKIMS authorities to save their skin are trying to use unethical procedures to save their skin.

A group of employees of the prestigious hospital while appealing Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to look into the worsening affairs of the SKIMS said, “Duplication of services at the SKIMS was killing patients either in wait lists or by suboptimal treatment by non specialised departments.”

“SKIMS work culture is getting ruined by duplication of services and innocent people are very much confused and unable to understand. In present modern world such practice is still going in this remote unfortunate part of world and cancer patients are biggest targets of such malpractice,” they added.

Admitting that facts that surgeons are treating cancer patients, Medical Superintendent of SKIMS, Dr Farooq Jan said that due to the lack of manpower in the department of surgical oncology, a meeting was hold by the officials of the hospital.

“It was decided that the senior surgeons having much experience will also treat the cancer patients to tackle the ever-lasting rush of cancer patients. There are only four oncologists in the department. Thus, it was decided that surgeons will also treat the patients to tackle the rush,” Jan said. (KNS)


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