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Referral only remedy for patients at maternity hospital Anantnag
Monopoly of doctors blamed for mess, MS cites bed shortage as reason for referrals
ANANTNAG, June 10: If your expecting wife develops a sudden labour pain after 4.00 PM and you take her to the maternity and child hospital Anantnag for delivery, referral is the only remedy that you get from the doctors at the hospital.

The reason for the patients being referred even without being examined is the shortage of space and beds.

"It was around 4.00 PM when my wife complained of a labour pain. We reached the hospital within half-an-hour but doctors told us in clear terms to go to Srinagar. They briefly examined her and said she needs to be operated upon. When I insisted that they attend to her in the same hospital they told me plainly that they have no bed," said Nazir Ahmad of Dialgam area of the district.

Since Rashid had no money available to take his wife to a private nursing home, he was left with no option but to agree to the referral of his wife’s case to Srinagar.

Hospital sources said that the gynecologists posted at the hospital prefer to conduct deliveries through normal procedure or caesarian section section of those women who visit them on their private clinics during nine months of pregnancy. "Since doctors ensure that their own private clinic patients are operated upon on priority basis up to 4.00 PM. And the poor patients who don't afford to visit their private clinics for check up during nine months of pregnancy are simply asked to go to Lal Ded," said a hospital insider.

Such patients, he said, are clearly told that there are no beds available to accommodate them.

"Sometimes many women are bundled into an ambulance for Srinagar while being referred," he said.

The hospital known as MCH is the lone major maternity hospital in South Kashmir located in a congested Sherbagh locality. The hospital caters to the patients from all the four districts of southern region including from parts of Jammu like Banihal and Kishtwar. The healthcare facility has been declared unsafe by the fire and emergency department in its safety audit report few years back. Though the hospital was later shifted to the old spacious district hospital building by the chief medical officer (CMO) Anantnag two years ago but the medicates running shops outside used political interference and forced the health authorities to shift back the hospital overnight.

The government last year approved the shifting of the hospital to a private Rehmat-e-Alam hospital which was run by a local trust. However the slow pace of maintainence work on the hospital has halted the shifting of the same.

A para-medic posted at the hospital said that the administrative failure coupled with space crunch in the hospital was responsible for unstoppable referrals to Srinagar.

"Many poor patients in order to avoid the trouble of travelling to Srinagar in labor pains later prefer private nursing homes in the town run by the same doctors posted at hospitals," the para-medic said.

"There is no accountability of the doctors referring even those patients needing emergency treatment," he said.

A referral sheet available with this news paper reveals that only on Wednesday (6. 6. 2018) at least 12 patients were referred. "Referring the patients after 4 pm has become a norm here. They either tell the patients that there are no beds available or refer them on grounds that they need territiary care," said another para-medic.

Medical Superintendent, MCH, Dr Mohammad Yusuf Zagoo admitted that they refer the patients due to the shortage of beds.

"This hospital has become a referral center for all south Kashmir hospitals. They refer almost all the gyneacological cases to MCH. We have a strength of 20 post operative beds only and are left with no option but to refer the patients who come from other hospitals in the evening hours," the MS said.

He, however, denied that doctors posted in the hospital indulge in favouritism.

News Updated at : Monday, June 11, 2018
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