‘Life-saving’ WhatsApp group defunct amid no-internet

Irfan Tramboo
Srinagar, Nov 7: A WhatsApp group created to facilitate the referrals of pregnant ladies with complications from district hospitals to tertiary care in Srinagar has been rendered defunct due to the non-availability of internet services in the Valley since August.
The group being operated several Gynecologists, along with Medical Superintendents, posted in districts as well as in Srinagar – parcitularly Lal Ded hospital – used to post the details of the patients with complications from any district, notifying doctors in Lal Ded to remain alert and do the necessary arrangements. However, due to the absence of data services, the group has remained a non-performer.
A doctor who is member of the group told Excelsior that the group used to help a great deal in managing the patients with complications, as the medical records and other details used to be posted in the group and other specialsts used to provide their insights with regards to the subsequent treatment of the patient.
“What was more important that after the details were received by the doctors at Lal Ded, they not only used to be alert, but also used to put in place the necessary arrangements required after the patient arrived at the hospital,” he said.
Pertinently, the group was created under the Referral Guidelines framed by the Health and Medical Education Department after and incident that occured at Lal Ded last year which led to the death of an new-born, whose mother was shifted from Kupwara District Hospital.
Another doctor from district Anantnag, who is also a member of the group said that on referring the partient to the tertiary care hospital, the on-duty doctor used to drop a message on the WhatsApp group. “When that was done, another doctor/ register on duty at the tertiary care hospital used to get the necessary arrangements done. We, as per the Referral Guidelines, also used to send a medical attendant/ ASHA worker well versed by the Resuscitation Drill with the patient,” he said.
Both the doctors said that now that the internet services are no longer available they are trying to do whatever then can verbally. “We are left with no option but to do that; the functioning of the WhatsApp group used to make the process more convenient,” they said.