SRINAGAR: They are slouching on beds like lifeless sacks. Their facesdistressingly jaundiced. And around these tube-attached boys are their exhaustive relativesequally anxious over doctors disclosure. Battling firearm injuries, these fifty plus patients admitted in Srinagars Bone & Joint Hospital have been declared disabled for life.
Among them is Sogam boyAdil, withering in pain. On Sunday, he says, as the protestors were chased by cops in his village nestled in north Kashmirs Lolab, he got caught in concertina wire. As I was struggling to free myself from clutches of wire, says Adil, whose right leg was freshly operated upon, the cops pounced on me and broke my leg by slamming it with continuous gun butts. His friends immediately referred him to B&J Hospital where he was told that he wont be taking his flowing walks anymore.
In nearby bed, a boy from Pulwama shot on his left leg fears disability for only one simple reason: It will slow down the otherwise swift cricketer on pitch. This fifteen-year-old boy who withholds his name fearing police profiling of the injured inside ward says he regrets that his game has lost an edge.
Some 10 emergency theatres are operational in the hospital treating mounting firearm injuries. Normally, says a senior doctor, we have only two emergency theatres operational. But in the face of the present crisis, we have kept 10 emergency theatres operational. Fifteen senior doctors and 30 juniors (including four surgeons) are managing these theatres round the clock since Saturdaythe day when Kashmir witnessed massive protests amid clashes over 21-year-old Hizb commander Burhan Wanis killing.
Till Tuesday afternoon, the hospital had registered 60 firearm injured persons. These youth have received bullet wounds on their lower limbs. Majority of these patients will have lifelong disabilities now, says Dr Omar, a young surgeon preparing for another surgery. They will require multiple surgeries to get an average normalcy. Most of these admitted patients are from Tral, Islamabad, Kulgam, Pulwama and other parts of simmering south Kashmir. Their fractured bones, bullet-torn muscles and broken limbs have been internally fixed with plates, screws, nails and rods.
One of the doctors who worked during 2008 and 2010 unrest in B&J Hospital says that number of firearm injuries within four days took huge toll on medicos. Though we have treated such injuries earlier as well, but this time around, the doctor says, influx of patients tested us beyond our capacities. The larger situation in Kashmir has trained these doctors well to handle these cases, but lately tackling huge rush in short time was challenging.
While the ninety percent of these patients are still admitted in the hospital, two boys requiring vascular surgery were shifted to SKIMS. Now, the lasting pain for these patients is the sense that they wont be the same again once they will be discharged from the hospital.(KL)
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.