‘Chaos, crisis in IOK hospitals after over month-long lockdown’ » Kashmir Media Service

Srinagar, September 07 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, chaos and crisis in hospitals continue after over month-long lockdown, reported Al Jazeera.

Patients are scrambling for medicines and doctors are unable to work due to blackout and the hospitals running out of resources.

The military lockdown and communications blackout imposed by the Indian government following the revocation of the special status last month has crippled life in the territory.

The unprecedented siege, which entered its second month on Thursday, has severely affected patients in need of urgent medical attention and better facilities.

For the past two weeks, Mohamad Shafi of Kupwara has been with his 13-year-old son, Rafi, who has been admitted to the nephrology ward of a hospital in Srinagar. Rafi suffers from a chronic kidney ailment and needs dialysis every 15 days.

“We can’t go anywhere for now. My son needs medical care which isn’t available in his village. So we are planning to stay at the hospital until the situation improves,” Shafi told media men.

On the nights of August 20 and 21, Shafi took his ailing son to the hospital. He said he was stopped at multiple checkpoints set up by the Indian forces along the way.

A medical staff member at the hospital, who did not want to be identified, told media that many patients at the hospital had run out of money to buy the critical medicines. “We don’t provide them any medicines. They have to buy them from retail stores outside the hospital and many of them come from far-flung areas,” he said.

At the SMHS hospital in Srinagar, Surendar Prasad Goyal and his daughter, Priya, who are from Indian state of Chhattisgarh, wait anxiously outside the operation theatre.

Earlier this week, Goyal’s 16-month-old grandson, Lucky, suffered a serious accident at the brick kiln he and his daughter worked in Islamabad district of occupied Kashmir.

Goyal, who is in his 50s, also said he was not aware of the Indian government’s advisory asking people from outside occupied Kashmir to leave when the clampdown started. He said he had not spoken to his family for the last 30 days and they were not aware of the accident. He said he will leave the Kashmir valley as soon as Lucky is discharged.

Mumtaza Dar from Beeru village in Budgam district was scheduled to undergo surgery at the SMHS hospital on August 10 but she could not make it to the hospital due to the restrictions placed by the Indian authorities.Forced to delay her medical needs, the chronic piles patient bled for weeks. As her condition at home worsened, her family hired a vehicle to take her to Srinagar last weekend.

“For the first two weeks, we were scared to come to Srinagar. There was no transport available. There were restrictions everywhere and we didn’t know what was going on,” said Mohammad Ashraf Dar, a relative of Mumtaza.

“They (authorities) should have at least kept the communication lines open. If we run out of money or there is a problem with a patient here, there is no way we can reach out to our family and friends for help,” he said.

A doctor at the SMHS hospital, said the inflow of patients had dipped by less than half as people were delaying going to the hospital because of the uncertainty over the lockdown.

The doctors also told Al Jazeera that at least 60 victims of pellet gun attacks had been treated at the hospital in the last month.

At Lal Ded, one of the biggest maternity hospitals in Kashmir, a megaphone is mounted at the top of the building to call out for the doctors whenever a patient needs them. In case they are not able to hear the calls, a staff member at the hospital is asked to go to every ward to look for them.

At the SMHS hospital, an ambulance driver, Abdul Rasheed, said that he had not visited his home since the restrictions were imposed on August 5. Abdul Rasheed, who has been at the hospital for the last 15 years, said he had not seen such a situation in Kashmir before.

Rasheed said the biggest hurdle he faces is when he has to fetch a doctor during an emergency.

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