Post-floods, healthcare system in Valley limping to normalcy

SRINAGAR: Badly damaged by the flood early last month, the healthcare system in Kashmir Valley is limping to normalcy.
The unprecedented flood that devastated Srinagar, south Kashmir, and parts of north Kashmir affected the most major hospitals of the Valley including the SMHS Hospital, the Bone and Joints Hospital, the Lala Ded Maternity Hospital, and the Children’s Hospital. As a result, the healthcare services were badly affected.
The patients in the Valley were left with only two major hospitals—SKIMS, Soura, and the JLNM hospital—for treatment. Added rush at the hospitals further made the services ineffective.
Now, as the water has receded, facilities at the hospitals have been partly restored.
At the SMHS Hospital, out-patient department (OPD) has started to operate along with in-patient facilities for the emergency cases. Medicos at the hospital told Kashmir Reader that routine admissions and surgeries will take few more days to start while the operation theatres are being used to deal with the emergency cases.
“The flood damaged the infrastructure and equipment of the departments located on the ground floor. Since the departments are forced to share the facilities available on the first floor, we are only concentrating on the emergency cases,” a senior medico said.
The costly equipments damaged by the flood include MRI, CT scan machine, and radiotherapy equipments in the newly set up oncology unit of the hospital.
According to the doctors, a new limited facility CT scan machine is expected to arrive at the hospital within this week while the patients in need of the test are being sent away to SKIMS—the only other hospital having the facility.
“The (CT scan) machine of SMHS Hospital was damaged. A new one has been ordered, and we are expecting it to reach us within this week,” the medicos in the Department of Surgery said. “But for now, we are unable to perform CT scan on any patient. We have to shift patients to SKIMS for the purpose.”
The SMHS Hospital is also lacking adequate stock in the blood bank, “forcing the departments to avoid surgeries requiring availability of the blood.”
The floods had rendered defunct the Valley’s only Children Hospital and the only specialised orthopedic hospital, Bone and Joints Hospital, while the premier maternity hospital, Lal Ded Hospital, was forced to operate from the makeshift facility at Sanat Nagar in uptown here.
While the Bone and Joints Hospital has restarted its routine work, the Lal Ded and the Children hospitals are functioning mostly from top floors of the buildings as the water had affected the ground floors.
The insiders, however, said less patients are turning up at the hospitals.
“It is mostly because people don’t know that the hospitals have started or due to the fact that the ground floors of the hospitals are still being cleaned,” insiders at the Children Hospital said.
“But slowly, the situation is improving,” they added.