SRINAGAR: The maternity section of SKIMS Soura hospital is functioning with just one operation table, no adequate lighting in the labour room, no blood bank or laboratory, and 25 beds to accommodate 60 women on the verge of delivery who come to the hospital on a daily average.
A 140-bed capacity, specialty SKIMS Maternity Hospital is under construction nearby, for the past nine years. With a budget of Rs 70 crore, construction of this new hospital building began in the year 2008, with the aim to reduce the patient load on SKIMS Soura, but the load has only grown over the years on this woefully unequipped hospital. Attendants of patients can be seen waiting outside the lone operation theatre for want of space, with no place to sit. Arifa, who went inside the theatre for her surgery, recalls, “I and several pregnant women were told to share beds. When a woman came out of the operation theatre, she was writhing in pain. I left my bed for her and slept on the floor.”
About 60 patients are admitted to the maternity section on average every day. They are accommodated in two wards that have a total of 25 beds. “Three patients with their babies sleep on one bed,” Naseema Jan, a patient from Sada Por, told Reader. “We aren’t able to move properly. The lack of washroom facilities makes things worse for us.”
The maternity section, besides having only one delivery table, also lacks adequate lighting in the labour room. Doctors on duty complained that the doctor-patient ratio is not properly maintained.
The hospital staff avoid working here, nurses and doctors said. “Patients have to be sent to the main block of the hospital for gynaecology and oncology check-ups, which causes further delay in surgery. At the same time, when we receive emergency patients, we are helpless,” said head of the department, Shameema Parveez.
The burden of doctors is such that they are unable to pay attention to any patient. “Many times I have complained to higher authorities but nothing has been done,” Shameema Parvez said. “We should discharge Caesarean patients after four days but because of the space crunch we discharge them on the second day. We know it’s a risk but what else can we do?”
Staff Nurse Fahamada said that the hospital lacks basic facilities. “This is more a dispensary than a hospital. Here is only one USG machine, no blood bank, no paediatric facility. Patients as well as staff suffer. All the tests have to be done at the main block. It is very difficult for a pregnant lady to walk the distance when it is time for her delivery,” Fahamada said. “Sometimes a patient needs blood and we have to go to the main block to fetch it,” she added.