J&K web outage: Online medical consultancy in lurch

Image for Representation (AFP Photo)

With online help groups, which provide medical help to cardiac patients, emergency blood donations etc, becoming defunct in absence of internet connectivity, patients receiving online consultancy have been left in a lurch in Kashmir.

‘Save the Heart’ is one such online voluntary group, which was providing free medical consultancy to cardiac patients in far-flung areas of Kashmir by coordinating with doctors at peripheries and frontier districts of the Valley.

The group administrator, Dr Irfan Ahmad recently received the first prize at annual cardiology conference at Kochi in Kerala for his online work through ‘Save the Heart’. But since August 5, when internet and mobile phone services were snapped in Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370, the group has been defunct.

“At peripheries, there are usually junior doctors who can’t detect and handle cardiac patients. So we used to coordinate with them online and provide necessary help in the golden hour,” Dr Irfan, a founding member of the group, said.

“From 2018 onwards, we analyzed 36000 patients till August 4 this year. More than 900 patients received medical help through our online group during the golden hour. Apart from this, we diagnosed hundreds of patients for minor heart attack,” he said and added Internet gag has kept them away from saving many precious lives.

There are also online groups like ‘J&K blood donors’ that used to help blood donors to get in touch with the recipients in dire need, which has become defunct since August 5. 

“My cousin needed four points of blood a few months back in an emergency situation. Had it not been the online blood donation group that time, it would have been a Herculean task to arrange blood,” said Rouf Shah, whose cousin had met with a serious accident in March.

“If a similar situation happens with some patient this time, it will be very difficult to arrange blood in huge quantity at short notice as all online groups have become defunct,” he added.

‘J&K blood donors’ group was in news recently when members of the group from south Kashmir travelled more than 100 kilometres during the night to donate blood to a patient in northern Baramulla district.

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