Muhammad MukaramSRINAGAR: Doctors at District Hospital Pulwama are left to fend for themselves, as they more often deal with the Coronavirus positive patients and are allegedly coerced by the administration to attend to the regular OPD patients. In this manner, the doctors and paramedics are at greater risk as the dreaded disease has claimed nearly 500 precious lives in Jammu and Kashmir thus far.The unfortunate demise of a frontline warrior while fighting the Covid19 pandemic has stirred up a heated debate over the actual cause of death of Dr. Mohammad Ashraf Mir. There are allegations of excessive workload at the District Hospital Pulwama, shortage of staff, overburden of Covid19 patients while alleged undue bureaucratic interest in the hospital affairs are dominating the discourse.Dr Mohammad Ashraf Mir, Senior Medical officer, 48, a resident of Konibal Pampore area of Pulwama district, passed away on 9thAugust in the morning at the SKIMS hospital in Soura here.The officials said Mir had been treating COVID-19 patients for the past four months and in the process, contracted the deadly virus.Dr. Mir tested positive for COVID-19 and was admitted to the hospital with bilateral pneumonia. He was later shifted to an intensive care unit as he could not maintain oxygen saturation and passed away. His death has been widely mourned.Scores of doctors and paramedics allege that their duty rosters are prepared in a haphazard manner, thus making them vulnerable to get affected by the deadly virus sooner or later. Unlike the rosters at other hospitals, doctors at Pulwama District Hospital have to be on multiple night duty calls and day duty responsibilities throughout the week and this way they are exposed to both COVID and non-COVID patients.To keep the OPD and gynaecologist section open is because of the pressure from the district administration Pulwama, as alleged by the number of medicos working in the hospital. Surprisingly this all is happening at a time when five doctors have already tested positive in the hospital so far in which one died besides 10 paramedics too tested positive for the deadly virus.“There is a tremendous pressure from the district administration to keep the OPD and gyane section open every day despite the fact that the hospital has been designated a Covid-19 hospital,” a doctor said, wishing not to be named. He said when doctors treating Covid-19 patients who are positive and also suspects, and then same team of doctors attends to patients in OPD and gayne department, there is a huge risk of transmission of virus to both doctors and the patients.The total number of positive cases in Kashmir has reached 20,085 taking the Pulwama district to the 3rd spot after the Srinagar followed by Baramulla districts respectively. Once the Pulwama district was Covid free district now has taken the toll to 1,860 including 1,140 recoveries and 31 deaths.Duty roaster of District Hospital Pulwama medicos accessed by STATE TIMES reveals that the doctors who are treating COVID-19 patients also treat the non-COVID patients because of shortage of staff. This is only district hospital where both COVID-19 and non-COVID patients are being undertaken by the existing staff.Apart from treating overburden of Covid-19 patients, DH Pulwama has done more than 1400 delivery cases which include Covid-19 gyane patients.According to the sources, several doctors and paramedical staff were transferred or attached from the hospital without providing any replacement. Despite repeated requests to the administration for additional staff, all goes in a vain.Take an instance of radiologist ward, there were two radiologists, recently, one was transferred that too without any replacement. Now one radiologist does investigation to all patients including Covid-19 and Non-COVID patients.Another example is of Gynaecologist section there are three consultants, one medical officer with PG degree, one Medical officer and one NRHM doctor who are treating both covid and non-covid gaynae patients as per duty roaster.However, when contacted deputy commissioner Pulwama, Dr Raghav Langer, he said there are separate doctors for Covid-19 patients and Non-covid Patients.
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