Srinagar: Hundreds of patients admitted to SMHS Hospital have been forced to purchase emergency and essential medicines from the open market. Some of the drugs are even available in the hospital but are not being given to patients as doctors have declared them of “poor efficacy”.
Khalil Ahmad, attending a patient admitted to the hospital, said that he spent nearly Rs 50,000 in the past two weeks on his brother’s treatment, mostly on drugs he had to purchase from the market.
“We were even forced to purchase a simple antibiotic from private chemist shops,” he said. According to him, the hospital doesn’t have stock of many important drugs and consumables even though the doctors prescribe these drugs to a large number of patients.
“We purchased all the drugs including Ceftriaxone and Mucomix ourselves, with no support from the hospital. It costs us nearly Rs 4,000 to 5,000 per day,” Ahmad said.
Patients suffering from rare ailments like Hemophilia, a blood disorder, are facing similar trouble in absence of blood products and other drugs at SMHS. A family from north Kashmir’s Uri has been forced to approach an NGO for financial help to sponsor the treatment of their son, Rafiq Ahmad, who was admitted to SMHS hospital last month and expired a few days ago.
“It was a tough time for us. We had no money to sponsor the expensive treatment of our son. Finally, the association of hemophilia patients came to our rescue,” the family told Kashmir Reader. However, the patient didn’t survive due to multiple organ failure.
Syed Majid Qadri, president of the Hemophilia Society of Kashmir, said that patients of this disorder continue to suffer because the Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar was never serious about them.
“Rafiq died because of improper treatment,” Qadri said. “The hospital always gave him obsolete treatment in the shape of Fresh Frozen Plasma which resulted in serious infections in him,” he said. “The hospital didn’t provide him simple drugs like Paracetomol infusions, Filgrastim and Fluconazole. It was our association that came forward to help.”
Other drugs which are in short supply include Azitromycin, Meropenem, Pantop, Fluvir, Dilnip, and medicines needed for nebulisation.
Doctors at SMHS Hospital also rued the non-availability of drugs at the hospital’s stores. They said the shortage of drugs has left some poor families in debt.
“Most of the patients suffering from various infections and metabolic disorder are being given multiple drug therapy. But most of the prescribed drugs are not available in the hospital. This leads to huge inconvenience to patients and their attendants,” said a physician.
A senior surgeon told Kashmir Reader that the hospital always remains short of drugs like Moxifloxacin Hydrochloride, Fluvir, Calcium Polystyrene, Nervofit, Amoxicillin, Gentamicin and Heparin, which have not been procured for months.
Medical Superintendent of SMHS, Dr Saleem Tak, admitted that some drugs were not available at the hospital. However, he claimed most of the antibiotics prescribed by doctors had been made available.
“We can’t give all the drugs free to patients; it is not feasible. But, we are trying to make essential drugs available,” he said.