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.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Losing a Grandfather and More

Shevali narrates how she lost her faith in J&K's nightmare health care system

Those 6 hrs in GMC hospital where nothing changes!

Shevali Raina (Kashmir Times)

Jammu: That was January 15, 2010. The day I lost my grandfather in Pranoo bus mishap – a routine feature for the helmsmen! He sustained serious injuries in the mishap and later succumbed to his wounds in the hospital.

For me, those five or six hours spent in the Government Medical College hospital Jammu were a nightmarish experience. I wonder if the helmsmen and those in the hospital too would have experienced that way!

January 17, 2009, June 7, 2009……. and January 15, 2010!

I presume only the dates change, the scenario would not have ever been different in the Emergency ward of the hospital.

“Only two big jerks and the next moment, I found myself floating in the water. Within the fraction of a second, my whole life changed. I, myself being a part of it, saw the biggest tragedy of my life. I was lying nearly four hundred feet down in Neeru Nallah…,” murmured one of the fortunate bus victims of Pranoo mishap undergoing treatment in the Government Medical College (GMC) hospital Jammu.

Situation was really chaotic in the hospital as Pranoo bus mishap victims were being brought to the GMC hospital Jammu.

The screams were breaking the lull in the emergency unit of the hospital where the victims of Pranoo bus mishap were being shifted. One could feel the trauma the victims and their relatives were undergoing. Throughout the emergency block, the shrieks of bus victims and their relatives were pervading the air.

The relatives, carrying the victims with fractures and blood oozing out of their wounds, were frantically looking for some help to shift them (victims) to the beds. It took around fifteen minutes for the hospital staff to shift all the bus victims to the emergency unit.

God was being remembered quite often.

Soon the emergency ward was full of screams. The condition worsened as the relatives of the bus victims and hospital staff got engaged in a duel. The hospital staff, including security personnel deployed on the duty there, was unable to pull all the relatives out of the emergency ward.

It had become totally difficult for the hospital staff to stop the attendants who were getting impatient due to the absence of adequate number of doctors to provide immediate care to their patients.

It was actually deplorable to see the condition of those patients whose relatives were not there on the spot. They were being completely overlooked by the hospital staff.

As most of the patients were struggling between life and death, it was genuinely expected that the hospital management of the premier institute would be prompt in trauma management.

But to my utter shock, not even a single senior doctor was present in the emergency unit to deal with the patients. The patients, who were airlifted from the accident site in a critical condition, were being treated by the junior doctors in the emergency ward. Soon two victims were declared dead in the hospital. Even then the team of senior doctors was nowhere in sight.

The hospital staff would definitely be witnessing two to three deaths regularly but for me the scene was horrific.

The bodies of the victims, declared dead, were lying outside the emergency unit and there was no claimant.

After over half an hour, the hospital administration could identify the victims.
While in the Emergency block, the situation was still not better. Given the shortage of ventilators, the doctors were unable to decide as which patient should be provided ventilator immediately and who should be left. As a matter of fact, all the patients require ventilators but many did not receive due to their shortage in GMC hospital which is being upgraded to AIIMS level.

As far as my grandfather was concerned, after conducting CT scan, he was shifted to recovery ward. We were still clueless when he was taken to surgery ward. We were not informed till then as where he was being taken.

Later we were informed that in the surgery ward, even before the surgery could be conducted, he experienced the problem of heart sinking and he collapsed.

Many victims like him required immediate surgeries, others immediate blood transfusion. The clueless relatives were shuttling here and there in panic. Precious time was being wasted and in some cases, those vital moments had already been lost.

Perhaps that was true in case of my grandpa also.

But wonder if anyone was bothered about that.

I had to leave the hospital at that question as I had already lost my grandpa!

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