Lack of facilities, care pushes pellet victims towards darkness

As the increased number of injured people are being referred to various Srinagar hospitals for specialized treatment, there is immense pressure on the healthcare institutions here as the referred patients are in need of specialized care.

The injured, especially pellet victims who are shifted to Srinagar are mostly critical and are in need of treatment that is not available at their respective district hospitals.

Administrators at different hospitals reveal that from the last few months they are once again facing rush of such patients.

Ever since the trend of civilian protests near the encounter sites emerged, the cases of pellets and bullet injuries have increased. Only in the month of June seven pellet injury cases were reported in SMHS hospital alone.

“Out of these most of the injured people had grievous injuries,” an official in the hospital said.

According to the data available, during one year, 16 persons lost their vision in both the eyes due to pellets and at least 161 suffered total blindness in one of the injured eye.

On June 16 Umar Yousuf (22) hailing from South Kashmir’s Kulgam area, was hit by pellets in his left eye. On Friday he was brought to SHMS, where doctors declared that his left eye was totally damaged.

Same day, Adil Ahmad (24), from South Kashmir’s Harnag area, underwent a surgery in his left eye, yesterday, with doctors saying that he too has lost his left eye completely.

That very day among 18 cases of pellet injuries in eyes were brought to SMHS for treatment.

Doctors who usually attend to the patients who are seriously injured, in the emergency operation theatres of various hospitals Srinagar say that at times the memories of 2016 are brought alive when they see patients with pellet injuries.

According to the sources, the hospitals have to put a pause on regular surgeries whenever they have to attend and operate newly admitted patients that usually are serious.

What SMHS does to lower down the patient rush is that the administration discharges pellet victims after two or three days of stay in the hospital. According to sources, this is done to evade the media glare at the first place and to vacate the space that they occupy to tackle with the rush.

“The patients with grave injuries are, however, made to stay for some time and undergo surgeries that usually do no-good to the patients,” another official added.

What is more interesting is that the patients with grave injuries are often recommended to visit eye specialists outside the state. Sources reveal that it is made sure that such patients do not stay longer in the hospital.

In June when a gunfight ended in Pazalpora, Sopore, in which two militants were killed, 60 year old, Ghulam Mohiudin Mir of Seelu Sopore, had to pay a heavy price when he along with other elders of the area went to demand the body of the slain militants. Pellets were showered on them, injuring Mir and one other person severely. Mir suffered grave injuries in both eyes, with the right one, beyond repair.

Ghulam Mohiudin Mir, is perhaps the only person of 60 years of age who has been hit by pellets and has lost his 90 per cent of his eye sight.

When Mir was admitted in SMHS, he was kept under observation for days and, as per his son Mudasir Ahmad Mir, was later told to take him outside for specialized treatment.

It has been observed that relatives of patients, who can afford, spend a huge amount of money and the result comes out to be zero, and those who cannot afford are left in a lurch with a strange hope of: “if we had money, he too could have been treated.”

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