3,400 patients died in Valley hospital in 18 months

Medical institution has inadequate staff, infrastructure

 Even as the government and the opposition are playing politics over infant deaths at G B Pant Hospital, at least 3,400 patients have died at valley’s lone super speciality hospital Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Science at Soura in the past one-and- a- half years due to lack of healthcare facilities.

Official documents with Deccan Herald show that from January 2011 to July 31 this year, 3,468 deaths have occurred at the hospital.

The neurosurgery department with 714 deaths heads the list of highest number of deaths followed by neurology and urology departments with 626 and 602 deaths respectively.

A report on the hospital condition by accountant general of the government, a copy of which is with Deccan Herald, says that the hospital is short of staff and infrastructure due to which patients are suffering immensely.

The audit party of the accountant general office who recently conducted performance review has highlighted various deficiencies in the hospital.

“On visiting casualty ward of the accident and emergency unit it was found overcrowded and highly suffocated. The audit party found patients lying on the floor and outside the casualty unattended. It was felt that there was acute shortage of space in the unit as attendants were ferrying patients on wheelchairs without any nursing aid helping them,” the report reveals.

While on an average 1,200 patients report to OPD daily, the existing staff strength can treat only 500 to 600 patients.

“Though all the patients are accommodated, doctors can’t give ample time to the patients due to heavy rush.

“Audit party found long queues of patients at different counters waiting for their turn,” the report adds.

The audit party has also highlighted the acute shortage of drugs.
 “There is acute shortage of drugs and improper ventilation. Even normal saline (glucose) was not present in the super speciality hospital and patients were forces to purchase the same from market,” it reveals.

A senior doctor said after Dr Showkat Zarger took over as director of SKIMS last year, he has been at loggerheads with medical superintend Dr Amin Tabish and few other senior doctors resulting in mismanagement.

“Though crores of rupees are spent on purchases every year, the patients have to purchase most of the medicines from market. Second-hand equipment is purchased at the cost of brand new machines,” he alleged.

“The director is using divisive politics which has lead to disintegration, fragmentation and highest degree of conflict in departments. Infighting among senior doctors is order of the day which has proven detrimental to the functioning of the SKIMS,” he said.

Taking cognisance of the mess, Legislative Assembly speaker, Mohammad Akbar Lone recently constituted a Committee of the Members of the House to examine the cause of “alarming increase in deaths of patients at SKIMS.”

However, sources said, SKIMS administration was busy in manipulating figures which would be produced before the panel.

“SKIMS authorities want to hide real facts and for that various officials in the hospital have been put on job by the director to manipulate the figures,” one of the sources alleged.

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