Seriously ailing suffer as SKIMS ‘reserves’ ICU for VIP patients

Srinagar: At a time when the hospitals in restive Kashmir are struggling to deal with the influx of wounded, some of the beds in the Intensive Care Unit of the SK Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura are being unduly occupied by the VIP patients whose ailment doesn’t need the ICU facility. The hospital authorities said it was being done for security reasons.

In the recent past, at least two of the VIP patients both from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, were brought to the SKIMS for “routine consultation.”

“Though both the patients were not in need of any ICU treatment, the authorities asked us to admit them in the ICU thereby depriving genuine cases of the facility,” said a medico in know of the matter.

As the beds in the specialized ward remained unduly occupied by patients who could be accommodated in the general ward, those who needed the facility suffered the most.

Sources said a woman who had gone into comma due to shock of the prevalent circumstances couldn’t be accommodated in the ICU. As per her attendants, the woman had fainted on seeing youth hit by pellets and didn’t recover.

“When we rushed her to hospital doctors said there was no space in the ICU. But we discovered that it was being occupied by VIPs,” the attendants complained adding they finally shifted her to a private nursing home.

Official sources said the hospital in the recent past witnessed massive protests over this discrimination, with attendants raising anti-government and anti-SKIMS slogans.

“If this hospital is for the VIPs alone than it should be officially declared closed for the common people. Due to lack of ICU facilities for the common people, the patients are at a risk,” said some protesting attendants adding “poor people are made to die by this PDP led coalition.”

Sources said some of the medicos have taken a serious note of the discrimination. “This is for the first time in the history of the SKIMS that the hospital is resorting to such a discrimination that too when Kashmir is facing worst ever humanitarian  crises,” said a senior doctor at the SKIMS.

“Such VIP patients can be accommodated in paid wards. Why occupy specialized beds meant for seriously ailing,” said a medico.

Sources said some of the medicos recently picked up the issue with the Director SKIMS Dr AG Ahangar. “However to our shock we were told that the directives have come from the government,” the medicos said.

Director SKIMS was inaccessible as his mobile number transfers the calls which end up being attended nowhere while no one responds to his official landline numbers.

When contacted the Medical Superintendent SKIMS admitted that recently two VIPs were admitted in the ICU though they were not seriously ill.

“But they were admitted in the medical ICU which has no special facilities,” he said.

When asked how could precious beds in the ICU be misused to please VIPs, the official said: “We have been instructed so by the government to do so.”  “They(VIPs) have a security threat… Do you want us to hospitalize them on roadside?” he told Kashmir Observer.

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