Anantnag: Families of Covid patients who have lost their lives at Government Medical College (GMC) Anantnag have accused the doctors, paramedics and the hospital administration of gross negligence that caused the death of their loved ones.
The accusations of negligence range from delay in investigations to unavailability of medicines, to not being given written prescriptions. Family members have now appealed to the district administration and the Lieutenant Governor to take strong note of their issues.
In Anantnag town on Tuesday, two such families talked to the media to narrate their ordeal at the hospital.
“On April 27, we got our mother admitted to GMC Anantnag following a decline in her SPO2 levels. Despite the fact that she was a COPD patient, the doctors at the hospital did not bother to ask for an X-Ray for two days,” Junaid Hamid Dada, a resident of Bakshiabad area in Anantnag town, said.
Dada lost his mother and sister-in-law to Covid at GMC Anantnag within 36 hours.
He said that an X-Ray was done on April 29, two days after his mother was admitted, and that too after the family begged the doctors to do so. “My mother spent 14 days at the hospital, along with my sister-in-law who was admitted on April 29, before she succumbed. All along we were petrified at the cold approach of the staff, be it doctors or the paramedics,” Dada said.
He added that the doctors threatened with an FIR every time anyone questioned them for not attending to the patients properly. “My father was also admitted to the hospital on May 1 and he literally begged the doctors to let him go home after witnessing the situation there. He was adamant that he wanted to die peacefully at home and not at the butcher shop the hospital has become,” Dada said.
The hospital, as per government data, does not have a single ICU bed. The administration has also been found lax in referring patients who are in need of invasive ventilation, leading to deaths of many patients at the hospital.
“We understand they are low on infrastructure but the way the doctors and the paramedics behave at the hospital is inexcusable,” Sarwar Zargar, a resident of Bijbehara, told Kashmir Reader.
Zargar, too, lost his mother at the hospital. He lamented the apathy of the hospital administration as well as of the doctors. “My mother remained admitted to the hospital for 17 days and the only time I saw a doctor was on the last day, when they enacted the drama of trying to save her,” Zargar said.
He told Kashmir Reader that even the paramedics were not attending to the patients for administering medicine, injections, or for changing the oxygen cylinders.
“There were a few volunteers who did all the work. These volunteers, who also had their loved ones admitted to the facility, did round the clock work in absence of any attention from either doctors or the paramedics,” Zargar said.
Umar Gazi, from Kadipora area of Anantnag, also lost his mother at the hospital on April 25. He told Kashmir Reader that for two hours the doctors kept watching while his mother’s oxygen saturation level dropped to 30.
“They did not refer her because none of their ambulances had oxygen support. She needed invasive ventilation,” Gazi said, adding that the situation at the hospital was so pathetic that no one blinked when one night lights went out and some critical patients, on high flow oxygen support, were about to die.
“My brother and I ran for oxygen cylinders as the power went out for a good three minutes before it was restored. What kind of a tertiary care hospital faces a power outage in such times?” Gazi asked.
Besides such negligence, families lamented that the senior doctors at the hospital are nowhere to be seen while the junior doctors are unable to take decisions and deal with the situation in a constructive manner.
Asif Nazir Tinda of main town Anantnag, who lost his father at the hospital, had a similar story. He said that his father’s blood samples were taken on April 29 and on May 1 when he went to enquire about the reports, he was told that the samples had not been received at all.
“And, a doctor at the hospital had the audacity to ask me what I needed the reports for. When I argued, I was threatened with an FIR,” Tinda said.
Amid such public outrage and mounting complaints about the working of the hospital, Principal GMC Anantnag, Dr Showkat Jeelani, maintained that all was well.
“I am proud that the doctors, including junior residents, senior residents as well as consultants, and the other staff of the hospital are working round the clock while putting their life on the line,” Jeelani said.
He said that patients are being given the best of treatment and the doctors were trying everything in their hands to save the patients. “Some of them die and it is because they have serious illness and despite our best efforts,” he said.
Asked why the critical patients were not being referred, Jeelani said that he was told that their families refused to take the hospital ambulance and insisted on being provided a critical care ambulance.