By Nazima Sidiq
SRINAGAR: Two years have elapsed since four operation theaters (OTs) were established in the new block of Lal Ded Hospital, the main maternity healthcare facility in Kashmir but inordinate delay to make them functional is causing huge trouble to doctors and patients. On an average, sixty surgeries are carried out in the hospital daily.
The additional four OTs in the new block of the expansive hospital, set up for a whopping Rs 40 crore, were aimed at reducing the pressure on the existing OTs. The OTs have technically been completed but they are not functional.
The non-availability of facilities at the maternity hospital is taking a heavy toll on the patients who descend from every nook and corner of Kashmir and areas in the Chenab Valley. An unending rush of patients is always seen outside the labour rooms mainly due to absence of proper facilities.
Officials in the hospital said that the six functional operation tables were unable to cater to the huge rush of patients.
Dr Shahnaz Taing, head department of gynecology and obstetrics said that the old building of the hospital had six operation tables–three for round-the-clock general use, and one each for emergency, post-emergency and SOS.
“If the new OTs were made functional it would have eased out the burden on the hospital. The prolonged procedures like the laparoscopic advanced surgery takes three to four hours. This causes delay in other procedures,” Taing said.
The hospital is not lacking on the number of OTs only but there are other lurking issues. The new block lacks ramps and bridges and most often, due to technical snags, the lifts stop working. “The operation theaters are located on the first floor and in absence of lift; sometimes patients encounter huge difficulty in accessing the operation theaters.
Dr Taing said that the OTs could not be made functional due to the prolonged unrest in Kashmir that started in July 2016. “We couldn’t receive equipments well in time. This is the main reason for the delay in making OTs functional,” she said.
“The four new modular theaters with advanced Air Handling Units (AHU) for maintaining sterile condition were set up in the new block along with labour rooms. Instead of sharing the load of the hospital, these rooms have become a burden on the authorities,” a doctor working in the hospital said.
Medical superintended Dr Mushtaq Ahmed said that the new operation theaters would be functional within a span of four weeks. “There were some issues. They have been sorted out,” he said. He said for new OTs, additional staff would be hired.