Patients shiver in city hospitals as snowfall catches administration napping


Sudden drop in temperature due to heavy snowfall and incessant rains has left patients in hospitals in the summer capital shivering as administration was caught unprepared to make heating arrangements. 
Continuing with its past practice, the administration was waiting for “ceremonial date” to make heating facility functional in hospitals here. 
At SMHS Hospital, the largest tertiary care hospital of Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar, patients complained of bitter cold throughout the night as rains lashed Kashmir from late Friday evening. The snowfall in afternoon made the condition worse for the patients due to non-availability of heating arrangements in the hospitals.  
While night temperature is being recorded in single digit for past many days, hospitals are yet to start central heating systems to provide relief to patients.
An official in health department said that every year on November 15, state government issues order to give a nod for starting heating arrangements in government offices and hospitals. He added that this was subjecting patients to “unbearable trouble” and amounted to “cruelty”.
At the hospital, an old woman admitted for past four days was unable to sleep throughout the rainy night. In the morning, her son paid for a bottle of hot water to fill the rubber heating bag and help her get comfortable in the cold.
In most of the wards of this hospital, and in other hospitals of Kashmir, patients were left reeling in cold due to non-availability of heating arrangements.
Many doctors working in GMC associated hospitals said that patients were complaining of bitter cold. “We have requests coming in from attendants that they want to take their patients home as uncomfortable conditions in hospitals was deteriorating their health,” a senior doctor in GB Pant Hospital said.
Many hospital administrators held “sudden and early” snowfall as a reason for not being able to provide heating arrangements to patients. They said that the hospital mechanical divisions was still making check of hardware and pipelines and that arrangements for fuel were being made before heating facility could be started.
Medical superintendent SMHS Hospital, Dr Saleem Tak said that as a “norm” the heating system was to be started on 15 November. “Now, due to this weather, we are trying to start central heating system as soon as possible for at least a couple of days, till weather improves,” he said. 
At maternity Lal Ded Hospital, the hospital administration said they were “bound by government order” and would start central heating when the government issues the order.
Deputy medical superintendent of the hospital, Dr Farah Shafi, said that the hospital had air-conditioning system in place in neonatal intensive care unit and recovery areas. “We are polythene wrapping the windows and doors and trying to make the stay comfortable for our patients,” she said.
At GB Pant Hospital too, heating arrangements were yet to be started with the hospital administration aiming to start it on Sunday. “We have children in this hospital, who are especially prone to adverse weather,” Dr Kanwaljeet Singh, medical superintendent of the hospital said.
At SKIMS Bemina, the patients were shivering with no facilities in place for them. However at Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), administration had passed an order to start heating system from Saturday.
Medical superintendent of the hospital, Dr Farooq Jan, said that heating had been started for four hours daily since past one week. “Now all areas of the hospital will be heated throughout night,” Dr Jan said.

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