SKIMS Going G.B. Panth Way
Mudassir Kuloo (Kashmir Monitor)
Srinagar: All seems not to be well in the once prestigious Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences where according to the reports mortality rate has been going upwards with the administration sleeping over the issue, not taking any serious corrective measures.
Director of this institute, recently left the state Health department red faced, with his detailed report on infant deaths in G.B. Panth Hospital, must be having sleepless nights as under his very nose and leadership, some “4,000” deaths have been reported there in 17-months, in the hospital that he heads. These exclude the deaths caused by fire arm and also those occurring in 48-hours of admission to this hospital.
It was after a huge hue and cry, the state government accepted that around 4,000 infants died at the GB Panth Hospital from 2008 to September 2012 mostly due to medical negligence. The Director SKIMS Dr. Showkat Zargar in his report blamed the former Medical Superintendent Dr. Javeed Chowdhary for his negligence to control the infant death rate at the Hospital.
However, the sorry state of affairs at the SKIMS Soura, has all along gone unnoticed, that too under the leadership of the Director, who was appointed to review the functioning of the G.B. Panth Hospital. Well placed sources told The Kashmir Monitor that as per the official records of the SKIMS, Soura, 4,000 deaths have been reported in 17- months, which exclude deaths by fire arm and deaths occurring in 48-hours of admission to this hospital. These all are net deaths and the number of gross deaths are far higher. Sources said, the actual numbers of deaths are much higher (gross deaths), as the deaths taking place in first 48-hours of admission to the hospital have been excluded.
They said an average of 8-10 net deaths are daily reported there.
“However, nobody seems bothered to look into the causes of the death rate at the SKIMS showing an upward trend. This despite the fact, the SKIMS Soura consumes the substantial portion of the state budget meant for the health care. There is mismanagement, resulting in poor patient care and alarming number of deaths,” said a senior medico of the hospital, on condition of the anonymity.
An alarming death rate at SKIMS had attracted the attention of the state legislature and the Speaker appointed a House committee to examine the cause of alarming increase in the deaths of patients at SKIMS Srinagar vide order dated 24-07-2012.
This year, 18-patients lost their battle for life at SKIMS Soura during the three days of the strike of its resident doctors. “These deaths were avoidable and the patients could have been saved with careful and timely medical care. But the authorities took no steps to avoid these deaths,” said an employee. Sources said, it has come to fore that 70-percent of blood, urine and other tests conducted on the patients were wrong and doctors do not trust these reports.
Insiders said there is an acute shortage of drugs, improper ventilation, acute shortage of anti-cancer and life-saving drugs, which lead to poor patient care. “There is lack of accountability from bottom to top. There is mismanagement risking the lives of people. The situation is worse here than the G.B. Panth Hospital, but the mess in which the SKIMS has been thrown, is being ignored by the state administration, for reasons better known to the people at the helm of affairs,” said an employee of the SKIMS.
When contacted, Dr. Ajaz Mustafa, who is currently holding the charge of the Medical Superintendent, SKIMS, Soura, said, “The deaths are of two types, one is gross death rate and another is net death rate. Gross deaths include the deaths that taking place in the first 48-hours of admissions to the hospital, i.e. emergency patients like accident patients. Institute is not responsible for those deaths, except if there is some medical negligence.” When asked whether 4,000 deaths are of net deaths, he had this to say: “I don’t know exact the figures. But death rate is not so high. I can’t tell you exact figures.”