Srinagar: In the aftermath of flood which struck Kashmir, the otherwise crowded SMHS Hospital appears desolated. Everything is in disarray. The doctors’ rooms are deserted, so are the wards. The hospital is defunct since flood ravaged Srinagar. Beds and medical equipments have been discarded from ground-floor for cleaning-up operation. Piles of dextrose bottles and medicines have turned into mud and dirt.
Hierarchy has vanished and everyone is contributing to make the hospital functional again. Both doctors and paramedics are working hands-on to clean up the hospital.
At the Gastroenterology department, doctors and paramedics are cleaning the endoscopy unit to make it functional again. Leading the clean-up drive is head of Gastroenterology department Dr Showkat Kadla. Wearing a mask and gloves, he has been working untiringly along with his staff to clean up his unit. Beds, tools and equipments have been cleaned yet the task is not over.
Everyone is busy to put things back in place as the hospital is scheduled to reopen on Monday. In the causality section, Dr Masood Rashid is pushing trolleys from the first floor himself to triage ward to make it operational. The triage equipments were shifted to the upper floor by Dr Zarka and Dr Umar Ali who had been stuck in the hospital for two days. The equipments cost around 30 lakh rupees.
As one walks through the hospital corridor, mud and dirt has faded the color of marble and wall tiles. The condition of wards is more terrible. The floodwaters have spared nothing here. Ahead, a posse of policemen are clearing the garbage and removing the damaged furniture. Around 10 trucks of garbage have been removed from the hospital since the clean-up drive started.
According to authorities, the hospital has suffered extensive damage, to say the least. More than 350 beds and beddings have got damaged apart from furniture, records and other things. The floodwaters entered the hospital on September 6 and submerged the ground floor. It covered eights wards, two operation theaters, intensive care unit and casualty. A team of experts from New Delhi has put the initial losses of the hospital at 200 crore rupees according to Principal of Government Medical College and Associated Hospitals, Dr Rafiq Pampori.
The floods have damaged four CT scan machines, two MRIs, ultrasound machines, X-ray and blood bank freezers, apart from official records. To note, a single unit of CT scan machine costs around 5-6 crore rupees and MRI machine around 12 crore. The hospital medicine supply has got damaged as well.
“We have installed new X-ray machine and equipment in blood bank. The hospital is going to be functional by Monday from first floor and causality. We are getting new things to make our hospital functional again. Drug store got damaged, too,” Dr Pampori told Kashmir Reader while supervising the cleaning-up operation in the hospital.
In the corridor, a nursing orderly Abdul Rasheed of Nawab Bazaar, who has been a witness to the floodwaters submerging the hospital, recounted the odds in rescuing the patients and dead bodies there. “People from adjoining areas pulled horse-cart through floodwaters and rescued around patients and bodies from here. First, we entered the hospital by walking on boundary walls and entered through a rooftop. It was like doomsday,” said Rasheed who was flanked by house-keeping manager Feroz Makdoomi.
Much worse, a fleet of hospital ambulances have got damaged. Through the haze of damage, it appears the hospital has to start from scratch as floodwaters have left this tertiary care hospital devastated and many Mondays will have to wait to make it functional fully.