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EMPTY CRIBS, EMPTY PROMISES | Baramulla’s non-functional PICU endangers children’s lives

12:05 AM Jan 22, 2024 IST | ALTAF BABA
empty cribs  empty promises   baramulla’s non functional picu endangers children’s lives
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Baramulla, Jan 21: On January 16 a 6-year-old boy from Baramulla town was diagnosed with acute appendicitis, necessitating immediate surgery.

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The urgency was compounded by the detection of free fluids in the Right Iliac Fossa (RIF), indicating the need for swift medical intervention.

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The patient was immediately admitted to Government Medical College (GMC), Baramulla.

However, the situation took an ugly turn as doctors found the boy affected with a chest infection.

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To proceed with the surgery, the doctors advised to refer the patient to the SMHS Hospital in Srinagar as the GMC Baramulla Associated Hospital lacks a Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) for continuous monitoring and maintaining the patient’s saturation levels.

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Despite having ventilators, the PICU at GMC Baramulla remains non-operational.

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This scenario echoes a similar incident two years ago when a 5-year-old boy faced complications due to the unavailability of a functional PICU, leading to his referral to a hospital in Srinagar.

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Assurances from GMC Baramulla authorities about establishing a 10-bedded PICU with the necessary equipment, including ventilators, have not materialised.

The PICU’s failure to become operational is attributed to a shortage of essential staff, comprising trained nursing and medical personnel.

Muhammad Shafi, a local who experienced a similar situation two years ago, expresses concern over the gravity of the issue.

He said the delay in operationalising the PICU raises questions among the local populace about the healthcare system's efficacy.

“In the last two years, there has been no redressal to the problem. Two years back my son faced a similar situation at GMC Baramulla and after two years, the situation continues to remain the same,” Shafi said.

In the past two months, J&K has witnessed a surge in respiratory tract infections due to dry weather conditions.

Doctors note an increase in patients with Lower Respiratory Tract Infections (LRTIs) and Upper Respiratory Tract Infections (URTIs), inundating Outpatient Departments (OPDs) across hospitals.

The confluence of a young patient grappling with acute appendicitis and respiratory tract infections highlights the urgent need for a functional PICU at GMC Baramulla.

The persistent lack of this crucial facility leaves patients in distress and prompts a serious reevaluation of the healthcare infrastructure at GMC Baramulla.

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