”We may end up dying on roads,” locals say as OPD remains closed at DH Pulwama

Pulwama, May 21: The residents in southern Kashmir’s Pulwama township are dejected after the administration decided to turn District Hospital Pulwama into a Covid-dedicated hospital and closed all routine Out-Patient Departments (OPDs) within.

People, especially those living in the close vicinity of the town area, complain that the district administration, and particularly the hospital management, should have facilitated people with an OPD within the town area for routine medical care and emergencies.

“If we fall sick, there are high chances that we may end up dying on road because the authorities haven’t kept a doctor in the area for medical emergencies, especially during night hours,” an annoyed resident, Waseem, said.

He added, “Being from Pulwama town, how would one visit the hospital at Rajpora (nearly 10 kilometres from Pulwama town) during night time while navigating through security establishments.”

Another resident, Ghulam Qadir, said, “This is not a difficult demand to fulfil. We have the old government hospital here, adjacent to J&K Bank Park, which could easily be made operational for routine medical care and emergencies. Only a willingness to serve the people is needed on part of the administration.”

One of the residents, without naming himself, even questioned the integrity of the hospital authorities. He said that a girl was injured in an accident in Tiken area of the district recently and when she was brought to DH Pulwama, the hospital management declined to admit her, citing that the hospital has been designated as Covid-Care hospital.

“The girl eventually died while being shifted back to CHC Rajpora. Tell me, who is to be blamed for her death?” the annoyed citizen questioned, while alleging that in comparison, a non-local inmate at Sub-Jail Pulwama was allowed for treatment to the same Covid-only hospital just some days ago.

“He (the non-local undertrial) was eventually declared dead there in the same Covid-dedicated hospital,” the old man contended.

When asked about the complaints, the Chief Medical Officer Pulwama, Dr Mir Haseena, said, “We have an OPD operational at Mohammadia Hospital (Mohammadia Nursing Home Gangoo).” The CMO immediately dropped the phone without taking further questions.

Meanwhile, Dr Mohammad Yousuf Tak, while acknowledging the fact that the routine OPDs were being operated by Community Health Centers (CHCs) and Primary Health Care (PHC) hospitals only after DH Pulwama was designated as a Covid-only hospital, said that except routine OPDs, Mohammadia Nursing Home was catering to most of the medical emergencies like accident cases.

One of the medicos at the Nursing Home, wishing anonymity, said that the ground floor was especially made available to deal with medical exigencies only ‘with dedicated staff’.

It is pertinent to mention here that with the surge in COVID-19 cases, the hospital was declared as a COVID Care Hospital by the orders of the Director Health in the beginning of this month. All other facilities including gynecology and pediatrics were shifted to a private hospital in the district, where surgeries are conducted.

The hospital management had asked the people to avail all other important facilities from other PHCs and sub district hospitals while urging them to avoid visiting the facility and prefer to stay indoors. knt

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