Why The Doctors Manning GMC Anantnag Are In A Fix?

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by Dr Maqsood Ahmad Dar

I believe my observations would be keenly considered and hope the good sense prevails. This is a testing time for all of us to stand up and work for the betterment of patients and humanity. These are my personal views with no intention to blame anybody. Hope good sense prevails.

Lt Governor addressing the first batch of MBBS students of GMC Doda

The life of the whole world including India has come to standstill due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Some countries are badly affected including our country which presently tops the list so far as the miseries of people and collapsing of the healthcare system is concerned.

If we take the example of Jammu and Kashmir, it is among the top ten states of India so far as the number of new Covid-19 cases and the deaths per lac population is concerned.

The Anantnag Scene

I am residing from Anantnag and is currently working as a Medical officer, Consultant in charge, and Neurologist in GMC Anantnag and having experience of continuously working in the Covid-19 isolation ward for the last four months. I feel that I should share the experience of working in Government Medical College Anantnag and the challenges we face while dealing with the Covid-19 patients. While continuously working and treating the patient at the ground level, I feel I have the capacity to share my observations.

Starting from January 2021 our Covid-19 patients showed a decreasing trend and by the end of February 2021, we had few patients in the Covid-19 ward. While proceeding from late February to mid-march our patients increased from two patients to 20 patients.

Perhaps the first Covid-19 victim who was not in a wooden coffin but a body bag. In this photograph, a limited number of people wearing protective uniforms are offering the funeral prayers of the 70-year-old man from Panzath Wanpora village in Qazigund on June 9, 2020. He died in the GMC Hospital Anantnag. KL Image: Shah Hilal

A Huge Spike

However, over the last few days, we have to dedicate one full ward to the Covid-19 patients as the inflow of such patients increased tremendously from 20 to 50 patients. Over the last few days, our patients have tricked to the surgery ward and the casualty also.

As the oxygen ports are full with Covid-19 patients administration is trying hard to increase the bed strength and install the new oxygen plant so that many patients could be put on high flow oxygen. Under such conditions where you have limited beds available with limited oxygen supply the doctors on duty had to face the wrath and outburst of the ailing patients and are at high risk of beating for no fault of theirs.

The Crisis

Under such circumstances who is to blame? Should we blame the doctors who are risking their lives besides putting their families at risk to perform the duties, which amounts almost going for the suicide mission or should we blame the people who are miserable and have the hope to get treated in the hospital with their patients striving for the oxygen bed and gasping for the oxygen.

Under such conditions, the doctor is psychologically traumatised. While talking about the GMC Anantnag and keeping in view the Government policy to designate the GMC Anantnag as the Tertiary Care Hospital for south Kashmir, which means no patients could be referred to the other tertiary care hospital of Jammu and Kashmir like CD Hospital, SKIMS and the GMC Srinagar. What is the option left with the doctors working in GMC Anantnag and the heartbroken patients of south Kashmir?

Cancer surgery in progress in District Hospital Anantnag in October 2016.

The Other Side

Another misery is that while the total admissions belong to the medicine department include more than 80% patients from the Covid-19 patients the medical and paramedical staff should also be rationalized like wise. Our administrators including worthy Principal, Medical Superintendent and the heads of departments are working hard to tide over the crises, however, everything is not in their hands only.

While performing their duties our medical heads of departments, Medical Superintendent and administrative officer have turned positive and you could better imagine the plight of the hospital under such trusting times.

Keeping in view the high rate of Covid-19 positivity among the healthcare workers in GMC Anantnag, we should take necessary steps to rationalize the duty of doctors and paramedical staff who are presently working so that alternative teams are ready in case one team gets infected. I suggest there should be common pool among all the doctors including medical and paramedical specialities so that there could be minimal exposure and less chances of contracting the Covid-19 infection among the health care workers in GMC Anantnag before it is too late to collapse.

My Suggestion

Neurologist, Dr Maqsood Ahmad Dar

I suggest district administration should designate this GMC hospital as an exclusive Covid-19 designated hospital and the associated hospitals like SDH Bijbehara, SDH Mattan and SDH Dooru as non- Covid-19 hospitals. As there is the mixing of patients at various levels including reception, casualty ward, surgical ICU and other wards also thereby increasing rather than decreasing the spread of infection for which hospital administration is not responsible keeping in view of having no option left with them.

I believe my observations would be keenly considered and hope the good sense prevails. This is a testing time for all of us to stand up and work for the betterment of patients and humanity. These are my personal views with no intention to blame anybody. Hope good sense prevails.

(The author, an MBBS, MD, DNB Super-speciality is working as a Neurologist in GMC Anantnag. His papers have appeared in many national and international publications. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Kashmir Life.)

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