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VIP HOSPITAL CULTURE
9/17/2020 11:36:43 PM

Dr. Satwant Singh Rissam

Aim was to win war against COVID-19 in 21 days however the national COVID tally has crossed 5 million. After the dent caused by COVID-19 around the country, now alarm bells have started to ring in Jammu and Kashmir. Though we have gone through the lockdown and followed various guidelines and standing operating procedures yet the problem seem to aggravate every passing day. In the last fortnight, COVID-19 death toll has started showing sharp spike as patients are losing their battle of life. With present situation, it appears that we are heading to a disaster. The situation has turned grim after the re-opening of lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir. The lockdown restrictions seem to have failed to contain the spread of the virus. Rising number of deaths should be seen as a matter of grave concern by all of us and especially the government administration. The administration isn’t taking any proactive steps to combat the alarming spike of COVID-19. The reason behind saying so is that by now we have witnessed around 750 deaths in Kashmir division and are nearing 200 deaths in Jammu division.
In past 6 months, the frontline health workers here did an exemplary work during this pandemic but they weren’t able to fill the gaps created by lack of health care facilities. Clearly, the functioning of healthcare institutes and facilities for COVID-19 patients stands exposed with the shortage of oxygen cylinders, beds and dysfunctional ventilators in Jammu hospitals. It’s a matter of grave concern as even preparations of 6 months could not prevent this situation from taking present shape. Let’s also not forget about the complaints of unhygienic conditions prevailing in all the quarantine centers of Jammu and Kashmir. The shortage of medical supplies in ongoing pandemic should force the administration to rise from slumber and work to carry out the emergency requirements. It is painful to see the condition of people suffering at Govt. Medical College Jammu isolation ward (which is highlighted by local media) as they are not being attended properly. Moreover, Jammu residents are living in fear as social media is flooded with pictures and videos highlighting pitiable conditions in hospitals and quarantine centers.
With no notice and seriousness of government administration to such problems, CMO office Jammu has come under tremendous stress with the spike in COVID-19 cases. If things move in same direction then GMC Jammu, District Hospital Gandhi Nagar, Psychiatric Hospital Jammu and few other COVID-19 designated institutions won’t be able to cope up with the rush and totally collapse. At this point of time, all the private hospitals and nursing homes should have been roped in to supplement the efforts but instead the private healthcare institutions are running away from their service to mankind. The biggest example is the Narayana Super Specialty Hospital which has given birth to ‘VIP hospital culture’ and is ignoring people who require emergency medical services. With this new systemic problem, absence of facilities to get treated is becoming bigger problem than corona virus. The poor people are totally at the mercy of almighty and only those who have their foot inside the corridors of the power are getting medical services at this ‘VIP hospital’. Doctors are for patients’ safety and patients trust doctors for their safety. But Narayana Super Specialty Hospital doctors are acting like artists and singing songs for influential and ignoring the poor and helpless. What kind of Corona warrior are they? Such doctors and institutes are cheating their profession by creating a distinction between a poor and a VIP. Immediately, this ‘VIP hospital’ should be opened for the general public instead of accommodating only the VIPs because if such prevailing conditions and adopted approach continues, the situation would definitely go out of control in Jammu province. People after facing traumatic events and losing their loved ones have lost faith in the administrative authorities at divisional and district levels who aren’t yet stimulated to fight COVID-19. Besides, years later when all who would recall this pandemic would also talk about the lack of political leaders who failed to ensure medical facilities for the people of Jammu and Kashmir in turbulent atmosphere.
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