Over 90 percent accident victims referred to Srinagar
Sopore: Sub-district Hospital (SDH), Sopore, despite being upgraded from a relatively small unit decades ago, is still plagued by a lack of facilities and inadequate infrastructure. The most disturbing lack at this hospital is of an emergency ward, without which trauma patients in the area have to be shifted to Srinagar for further treatment. Doing so is proving costly for the northern Kashmir people dependent on the SDH, as moving trauma patients maximizes the chances of their death.
The foundation stone of SDH Sopore was laid way back in 1984. Thirty-four years on, half the hospital lies defunct due to incomplete construction work. The 200-bed facility sees a huge rush of patients from Sopore and adjoining areas like Bandipora, Rafiabad, Handwara and Kupwara and even from far-off Tangmarg. However, due to a dearth of proper infrastructure, poor hygiene and the lack of an emergency ward, patients have little expectation of decent health care at the hospital.
“A major portion of the hospital is still non-functional,” SDH Sopore employee Mubashir Ahmad Sheikh told Kashmir Reader. “The unfinished part would have been of assistance to the hospital, but construction is going on at a snail’s pace, due to which many deadlines in completion have been missed over the last many years.”
The other major issue in the hospital is its poor hygiene.
“Look at the condition around the hospital building, the heaps of garbage. Biodegradable waste and first-aid waste have been dumped in the open; it doesn’t seem like a hospital but like a dumping yard. This is where we have to come to get treatment for our diseases and it is nothing but our bad luck,” said Riyaz Ahmad, an attendant of a patient at the post-surgical ward.
The late former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had announced, on his last visit to Sopore, that the SDH would be made a model hospital, equipped with every facility, but the fact is that it even the emergency ward’s compulsory facility.
According to the SDH Sopore records, almost 245 accident casualties were reported to the hospital in 2017, of which almost 230, over 90 percent, were shifted to different Srinagar hospitals for further treatment.
An employee of the MOT section, who doesn’t want to be identified, told Kashmir Reader that the hospital is in very urgent need of an emergency ward, which should include both OT as well as MOT facilities. “We cannot treat even a minor trauma patient in our hospital, we mostly have to refer them to Srinagar hospitals, and sometimes, due to blood loss on the way to Srinagar, patients die,” the employee said.
“The legacy of referring most of the patients to tertiary care hospitals will continue so long as the SDH Sopore is not provided with an emergency ward facility,” another employee added.
Many that Kashmir Reader spoke to said the same. Locals also note that the government has failed in its duty to keep the surroundings of the hospital clean.
When contacted by Kashmir Reader, Block Medical Officer Dr Sami agreed that the hospital is in need of an emergency ward as it is a must for saving human life. “But the government is the authority to decide whether the SDH Sopore should be given an emergency ward or not, not me,” he said.
He also said that the government is bent on inaugurating the remaining half of the building in the next two months. “About hygiene, my sweeper staff is on the job 24/7, but I will still take the hygiene issue in my personal consideration and will address it as soon as possible.”
It is pertinent to mention that the SDH Sopore is visited by at least 2,000 patients on a daily basis.