Bizarre it may seem, but the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PMR) Department of Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), even after spending crores, is running without proper faculty and facilities.
A full-fledged PMR department has been rendered to no less than a physiotherapy centre, where patients who require any sort of physiotherapies are being treated, not performing the tasks that the department is require to do.
Sources reveal that the administration has been neglecting other major sections of the department by pouring more money into the physiotherapy and turning a blind eye towards other basic requirements.
According to the experts one should be having a proper degree to perform the duties as PMR specialist, however, there are currently two consultants working in the department without a proper degree.
“The two consultants are currently working in the department who are MD Medicine, which is a grave violation of norms,” sources said. The matter was taken to the court which quashed the appointment these two consultants, however, as per sources, they continue to hold the posts.
After the court order, and even after the appointment getting quashed, there has so far been no replacement for the same, nor have they been vacated from their post sources said.
“The department is currently having two senior residents with proper degrees and other junior residents are non-academic,” sources added.
With the dearth of proper faculty in the department, no postgraduates—apart from technical course trainees—are eventually coming out of the department as of now, raising serious questions over the functioning of the department.
There is a wide range of patients that are visiting the hospital who are suffering from different disabilities like cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, neuropathy, head injury, stroke and spinal cord injury.
The experts are saying that to run Physical Medicine Rehabilitation Department, there has to be a trained MBBS doctor with three years training in PMR. In addition, there has to be a highly trained paramedical staff comprising therapist, orthotists, prosthetists, occupational therapist, vocational therapist, rehabilitation psychologist and speech therapist.
As of now, according to the sources, there is no Orthotists, Prosthetists, Occupational Therapist, Vocational Therapist, Rehabilitation Psychologist and Speech Therapist, raising eye brows on functioning of the department.
Recently, the hospital administration spend around 3 crore rupees for the renovation of physiotherapy section, however, once again a blind eye was turned on the other requirements in the department.
Being referred as the pioneer centre in PMR, the department at SKIMS is, as per sources even lacking the basic need of having a workshop where the amputation parts required for those who need them would have been manufactured.
Interestingly, the patients coming to the department, who are in need of artificial limbs and other parts are asked to get the same done from the market, which usually costs them around forty to fifty thousand rupees.
Abdul Rahim, whose son was in the need of an artificial limb, was forced to get it from the market, which eventually cost him around fifty thousand rupees.
“I am a poor person; he (his son) lost his leg in an accident, the hospital should have provided this, not free, but on subsidized rates, but they did not,” he said.
The department is witnessing numerous patients like those who have undergone amputations, patients with rheumatologic disorders, deformities of bones and joints, but what seems to be lacking is the comprehensive rehabilitation of such patients, which is not happening due to the scarcity of staff.
There is also basic absence of a separate ward in the department. The department is provided with a four bedded ward—the official website states that there is a separate 8 bedded indoor ward—which usually remains occupied by the patients from other departments.
Director SKIMS, Prof. A. G. Ahangar could not be reached for his comments on this issue. Despite talking to this reporter he did not respond to the queries posted to him.