COVID: Expectant mothers' deaths expose agony of Valley

COVID-19: Expectant mothers' deaths, infections expose agonies of Kashmir Valley

Three expectant mothers have died, and over two dozen others have been infected with the coronavirus in the Valley. Representative image/istock

The deaths of three expectant mothers due to COVID-19 and over two dozen others testing positive for the novel coronavirus has exposed the agonies that the Valley’s sick and pregnant women are undergoing amidst the prevailing crisis.

Last week, a woman hailing from a red zone area of southern Anantnag district delivered at Lal Ded Maternity Hospital in Srinagar. Soon after the delivery, her sample, taken as a routine procedure for pregnant women in red zone areas, tested positive.

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The test report came as a shock for the staff that had carried out the delivery of the woman at the hospital. “We had not been told that she is a red zone resident. We would have attended to her according to the protocol we have in place for all such women here,” a doctor at the hospital said.

“We face both the wrath of the people and exposure to the illness,” she said while blaming administrative decisions for this.

A doctor at the tertiary-care SKIMS hospital told DH that the way COVID-19 was being managed in Kashmir was putting every other patient’s life at risk. “If a heart attack patient from a red zone arrives at a hospital ‘not meant for suspected cases’, he will be asked to travel 100 km to reach some other hospital identified for the purpose,” he said.

The doctor said that COVID-19 management was making healthcare difficult to access for most patients. However, he said, patients and attendants could not be blamed for exposing the doctors and nurses to the infection. “When a patient reports at a hospital, he or she is in pain and has to suffer a great deal before reaching here. The way administration is dealing with COVID-19 has put both routine patients and health workers at a risk,” he said.

More than two dozen pregnant women across the Valley have tested positive till now and many of them have made visits to hospitals making them prone to contamination and subsequent spread of virus. Besides, over 20 doctors have also tested positive for the deadly virus till now.

Dr Samia Rashid, Principal, Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar says that doctors were taking all precautionary measures and were wearing PPEs. “However, getting infected despite that is a professional hazard,” she said.

J&K has reported 1668 cases of COVID-19 till May 25 since the first case was reported on March 9.

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