SRINAGAR: Hundreds of patients are facing a terrible experience in associated hospitals of Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar, as the authorities have failed to provide the wards with non-stop heating arrangement in the winter’s bone-chilling cold.
According to patients and attendants, the central heating system usually remains shut during night hours in all the tertiary-care institutes of GMC Srinagar, including SMHS Hospital, Lal Ded Hospital, GB Pant Hospital and Chest Diseases Hospital.
“The heating system remains on only for a few hours, till the ward rounds of senior doctors conclude. We are forced to make temporary arrangements during night hours when the temperature dips drastically,” said Sajad Ahmad of Naidkhai, Bandipora, who is accompanying his grandfather to SMHS Hospital.
He also said that broken window panes and doors in Ward No 6 make the situation worse for patients and their attendants.
“The corridor which leads us to the wash room and toilet doesn’t have a proper door. It allows the cold wind to enter the ward and makes everyone shiver during night hours,” Ahmad said.
This is the situation in most of the general wards which expose patients and attendants to the freezing chill. Ghulam Ahmad, 60, who is admitted to Ward No 12 of SMHS Hospital, said his family had to arrange for hot water bottles every hour in order to keep him warm.
“It’s because of sheer mismanagement and negligence on the part of the administration that ailing people are suffering like this,” he told Kashmir Reader.
Medical Superintendent, SMHS Hospital, Dr Saleem Tak admitted that they don’t run the facility’s central heating round-the-clock due to lack of resources. However, he said, the two four-hourly schedule is sufficient till Chillai Kalan, the Valley’s coldest winter period.
“We can’t run the heating round the clock because we don’t have sufficient funds for it. We are managing it on a four-hourly basis till we gather resources to run it for the maximum time in the coldest season,” he said.
Patients in other tertiary hospitals are facing a similar situation with heating being run for only a few hours a day, which badly affect patient care.
At LD Hospital, the authorities run the central heating system for only six hours a day, making expectant women and post-operative patients suffer even as they are already struggling with diminished immunity.
“My sister delivered a baby boy three days ago. Her condition deteriorated in the post-operative ward. She needs warm surroundings to recover her normal temperature fast, but there is no proper arrangement for it in the wards,” said Ali Mohammad of Baramulla.
“Due to the cold, she and her baby keep awake the whole night,” he said, adding that the family was unable to arrange water bottles and a heater.
Early this month, the authorities had insulated many wards with polythene sheets. But most of these sheets have already been torn.
At GB Pant Hospital, only ICUs are properly insulated and centrally heated while patients and attendants are forced to spend nights in the cold due to the lack of a heating system.