On the morning of past Saturday—when curfew was imposed in parts of Kashmir and the ground situation had already turned ugly—the general specialty SMHS hospital in Srinagar had just a few surgeons and theatre staff available to cater to a few routine nocturnal emergencies. But suddenly, according to officials there, reports of injuries at various places in South Kashmir started pouring in.
“We have a daily duty roster. But many of the doctors and other staff living far from the hospital could not arrive due to restrictions in place,” Dr Basharat Saleem, Head of Anesthesia at SMHS Hospital told Greater Kashmir on Monday.
By noon, scores of injured—most of them hit with bullets—had arrived at the Hospital. “We could have landed in trouble but the spirit of service and duty among our staff saved us,” Dr Saleem said.
The hospital authorities said they sent ambulances to all staff members who lived close to the hospital and volunteered to come to the hospital. “Nobody paid heed to whether they were on roster or not. They just arrived; some in their own vehicles; some by foot,” said Dr Kaiser Ahmed, Principal of Government Medical College Srinagar.
Reportedly, the doctors, nurses, theatre assistants, radiologists, technicians and all associated staff stayed in the hospital for over 50 hours at a stretch. “On Day 1 (July 9), we operated on five OT Tables and some trolleys. We operated till 12 midnight,” surgeons in the hospital said. “On Day 2 (July 10), we operated till 9 pm.” They said some surgeries were complicated and would take hours. Neurosurgeons, ophthalmology surgeons, general surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, plastic surgeons, consultants in wards and many other specialists were present in OT to cater to the needs of the injured. “Thankfully, we had everyone we needed here– the complete team,” said the doctors who were preparing to take rest after over two days of non-stop work at the OT that saw over 90 surgeries in two days.