Specialist doctors abandon SMHS Hospital for private clinics

Specialist doctors abandon SMHS Hospital for private clinics
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Trainees, PGs forced to handle emergency cases during late hours, Sundays

SRINAGAR: Patients rushed to emergency section of the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital here on Sundays face a life-threatening situation as specialist doctors abandon the hospital, leaving it to junior doctors to handle critical cases.
Official Sources said that many doctors completely abandon their duties as instead practice at private clinics on weekends and during evening hours. Sources said that the already overburdened medical interns and postgraduate students are forced to handle emergency and post-operative care patients.
A hospital administrative official, wishing anonymity, said that the resident doctors were forced to experiment on patients, causing complications and even death in some cases. He alleged that this year alone, most of the emergency cases were handed over to trainee doctors.
“Such practices have led to casualties due to misdiagnosis,” said the official, who is privy to medical records at SMHS Hospital.
The administrator said that three patients recently died at hospital causality following ‘misdiagnoses’ by a PG student. An elderly patient from downtown, suffering from severe digestive tract infection, was diagnosed by PG students to have Myocardial Infarction and referred to Cardiology Department, he said, adding that the patient died within few hours due to wrong treatment.
The administrator said that several poisoning cases were mishandled in the hospital due to lack of expertise to resuscitate such patients.
Despite strict guidelines by the government, lack of interest among senior doctors affect the provision of healthcare facilities at the major hospital.
“Most of the senior doctors come to the hospital during their OPD days. The doctors are serious about OPDs as they get an opportunity to grab and divert patients to their private clinics,” sources said.
While the hospital administration claims to have assigned emergency duties to senior doctors to comply with the health department directive, it proved a futile exercise as most stay away while others left the place of duty after marking their attendance.
The emergency cases should be handled very carefully by specialist doctors and critical areas like triage and causality should have trained medics, with adequate experience, in treating patients.
Resident doctors say that consultants and registrars can stay away from duty because they come under the direct administrative control of principal Government Medical College Srinagar while medical superintendent has no direct role in their working.
“Principle is lenient about the issue that gives them the freedom to abandon duties at the cost of patients’ life,” said a representative of resident doctors at SMHS.
He said the issue regularly leads to arguments and confrontations with attendants and relatives at the emergency section.
SMHS is a main referral hospital in the valley and patients from smaller hospitals have been referred there for major operations and consultations with sub-specialists. However, the lives of people are at risk due to the casual approach by the authorities.
Principal GMC Srinagar, Dr Samia Rashid, said that a shortage of specialist doctors existed due to low pay scale. “We don’t get enough registrars due to low pay scale. Most of them go to SKIMS Soura,” she said.
However, she refuted the allegations that senior doctors stay absent from duties. “They are on call always, even on Sundays. They work as per roster and there are no such complaints received in my office,” Dr Samia said.


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