Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Tragedy of Immense Proportions

In March 2009, Lal Ded Maternity Hospital records the highest number of infant deaths in any month in its history

Deliveries go wrong in Lal Ded

Srinagar: Eleven newborns died in Lal Ded (LD) hospital during March, allegedly due to mishandling of deliveries and wrong use of vacuum extraction method by the hospital staff.

According to medical record section of LD hospital, 11 death certificates were issued to families whose newly born babies died in the hospital in the previous month.

“Senior doctors who want to spend most of their time in private clinics use the easy method of vaccum extraction for deliveries. This method, at times, results in the death of newborns,” hospital sources said.

The medical record section of the hospital reveals that from March 3 to March 27, 11 newborns died during operative delivery or the normal delivery process.
Hospital sources said 11 deaths a month is the highest for any month in the history of hospital. “It is an abnormal trend. Government should take a serious note of it,” said a doctor, Shabir Ahmed.

While hospital authorities attribute the “abnormal” death rate to the shortage of staff and huge rush of complicated patients from peripheries, sources said doctors remain negligent while handling patients.

The 500-bed LD hospital is the biggest maternity hospital in Kashmir.
Hospital records reveal that everyday around 350 to 400 patients visit the hospital’s Out Patient Department of which 250 are obstetric and 150 gynecological patients.

The records reveal that everyday about 115 patients are admitted in Indoor Patients Department with about 80 obstetric and 35 gynecological cases. According to the records, the hospital performs 45 major and 30 minor surgeries everyday.

“About 20 normal deliveries and 40 to 45 lower segments caesarian sections are performed daily,” said a senior doctor at the hospital wishing not to be named. “The hospital has a good laboratory backup, well established radiology department, laundry CSSD and the blood bank. Despite this patient care has come down drastically.”

The doctor held the successive State governments responsible for the “virtual mess” in the hospital. “The hospital is a victim of lobbyism. We have a lobbies of paramedic staff and doctors. They are always at loggerheads. This, coupled with negligent attitude of the hospital staff, is severely telling on the patient care,” the senior doctor said.

The doctor said that the recent decision of the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah of transferring the medical superintendent of the hospital won’t do any wonders.
“The chief minister should have transferred the entire paramedic staff and made senior doctors more accountable. Private practice of doctors should also be banned like it is in SKIMS,” he said.

Medical Superintendent of LD Hospital Dr Mohammad Shafi termed the 11 death in the March as an “abnormal trend”. He said the matter would be investigated. “I will see what the cause of these deaths is and take appropriate action if necessary. The hospital is overcrowded with patients. The rush at times is unmanageable.”

However, Principal Government Medical College Dr Sahida Mir said vaccum extraction could not be the cause death of baby. "I will find out the reason why there had been 11 deaths in the month of March,” she said. Dr Mir said LD being the referral hospital receives all complicated patients from peripheries.

“Most of the times these patients are handled by untrained people in the peripheries and reach the LD hospital at a later stage. If a mother is in labour for long, we use vaccum extraction in the interest of the patients. It cannot cause the death of a baby but can cause the head injury to the baby,” she said.

(Rising Kashmir)

No comments: