15 years on, Pattan Trauma Hospital remains non-starter

Suhail Bhat
Srinagar, Aug 12: More than a year ago, the authorities completed the construction of Trauma Hospital on Srinagar- Baramulla Highway at North Kashmir’s Pattan town but the Government has failed to deploy the staff and install machinery required for it.
In order to tackle the problem of staff shortage and to improve the healthcare of the nearby areas, the Department of Health decided to shift the Sub-District Hospital (SDH) Pattan into the new building. One year has passed but the hospital continues to operate from the old shabby building leaving the new structure vacant.
” We have been continuously demanding shifting of the hospital to the new building which is lying vacant for the last one year and serving no purpose at all,” Ghulam Mohammad, a local from Pattan said, adding it would have given a complete facelift to the healthcare of the area.
Doctors at the hospital said with the support of an x-ray plant the new building could serve as SDH. “Until the arrangement for the Trauma centre are made, the building can be put to use by shifting the SDH into it as the hospital lacks proper infrastructure and is in deplorable condition,” he said, adding except a surgeon and an X-Ray machine the SDH has all the necessary staff and equipment.
In 2002, the Government had announced 25-bedded Trauma Hospital to provide immediate medical attention to the victims of the accidents on Srinagar -Baramulla Highway. The construction work started in the same year and was scheduled to be completed in 2008 but the work was suspended with the change of Government. “When the PDP- Congress coalition fell in 2008, the hospital suffered a severe blow as the work was completely stalled for some time,” a local said, adding it took authorities nearly fifteen years to complete the construction work and the way the project has been handled, it seems they would take another decade to make it functional.
Qayoom Khan, a doctor at the SMHS, said many patients do not reach the health facility and succumb en route to a health center. “The life of such patients depends on the way medical practitioner who handles them. Most of the patients reach the tertiary care after four or five hours. I have seen trauma victims who have either been mismanaged or have not been managed at all,” he said, adding, the victims from rural areas die more due to a disparity in the access to trauma care facilities.
Chief Medical Officer Baramulla, Bashir Ahmad Chalkoo, when contacted said the department has already sent a requisition to the administrative department for the creation of staff and allotment of diagnostic equipment needed in the Trauma Hospital. “Trauma care needs specialized staff and equipment and once they are available to us we will start functioning there,” he said.