Aubaid Ahmad Akhoon
In times of illness, the hospital emerges as a beacon of hope, where dedicated doctors tirelessly work towards the path of recovery. Among the healthcare institutions in Kashmir, SMHS Hospital, affectionately known as “Hadwun Hospital,” holds a special place.
According to M .J. Aslam, well known Author , Historian and Columnist “The history of SMHS Hospital is rich and profound. The original State Hospital, nestled in Hazuri Bagh, found its new home at SMHS in 1945. Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital, or SMHS, was established in 1940, and its doors opened in 1945 with Lord Wavell’s blessings. Major C M Hadow, an Australian renowned for his family’s involvement in carpet manufacturing, generously contributed the land for SMHS. While the Hadow family had no medical background, their significant contributions to the Kashmiri carpet industry have earned them deep respect from locals, who affectionately refer to SMHS as “Hadwun Haspataal.” In 1959, the Government Medical College Srinagar was established on the same premises.”
SMHS Hospital is currently on an exciting journey of expansion, with numerous construction projects in progress. (Refrence Kashmir From Ancient to present by M.J Aslam Volume two page 1068-1069)
On the 17th of October 2023, my father underwent a critical surgery on his right hand wrist at SMHS Hospital, Srinagar. This intricate surgery, lasting an impressive five hours, was a resounding success, addressing a “soft tissue tumor” of right wrist, a complex and vulnerable part of the body with numerous veins. The skilled hands of Dr. Tahir Saleem and Dr. Farkhand Mohi Ud Din, under the guidance of the Head of Unit, Prof. Dr. Abdul Rashid, worked wonders.
During my conversation with Dr. Farkhand Mohi Ud Din regarding the nature of the surgery, this humble doctor conveyed that this soft tissue tumor was involving whole of dorsal surface of right wrist invading into extensor tendons,surrounding nerves,vessels and extensor retinaculum making it a challenge to take out whole tumor in toto. Special care was taken to take whole tumor out in toto while also keeping in consideration that patient regains full functionality of hand post surgery. Whole procedure was done in regional block making patient comfortable during surgery and resumption of orals and ambulation was done soon after the surgery was over.
My heartfelt gratitude goes out to the entire medical team at SMHS Hospital, including the dedicated ground staff, nurses, and other doctors in Ward 16, for their unwavering dedication and exceptional care in treating my father.
Over the past 15 days, I made multiple visits to the hospital for various necessary tests prior to the surgery. This gave me the opportunity to familiarize myself with the hospital layout and the specific tests required, which can vary from patient to patient.
Yet, the sheer size of the hospital and the high volume of patients it serves pose challenges for individuals from across Kashmir seeking medical attention. This substantial patient load places immense pressure on the hospital staff, resulting in increased efforts and stress compared to smaller medical facilities.
“Experiencing the advantages of accessing high-quality healthcare through PMGAY (Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana) highlights the significant impact of government initiatives. Nevertheless, it is crucial to acknowledge that there is room for improvement in ensuring healthcare services are available round the clock, considering that health issues can arise at any time. Currently, these services are limited to operating from 10 am to 4 pm.”
During my time at the hospital, I also identified areas that could be enhanced for the benefit of both patients and staff.
Firstly, when doctors prescribe tests, it can be challenging for patients to locate the appropriate testing facility within the hospital premises. This process can be streamlined by assigning staff members to assist patients in finding the correct department and test facility.
Secondly, the queues for depositing test fees can be quite lengthy, causing further inconvenience for patients. To alleviate this issue, the hospital should consider increasing the number of test fee deposit counters.
Furthermore, the hospital should employ more ground staff nurses, especially during night shifts, to ensure that patients receive the necessary attention and care.
“The hospital follows a color-coded schedule for changing bed sheets daily. However, I have observed that sometimes even when the beds are unoccupied, the hospital staff changes the bed sheets unnecessarily, possibly to expedite their tasks and avoid repetition. In my opinion, this practice results in unnecessary expenditure and is not a prudent use of resources.”
“The commitment of the hospital’s cleaning staff is commendable, as they work tirelessly to maintain cleanliness. Nonetheless, it is worth considering the addition of more personnel, particularly for the night shift, to further enhance cleanliness and mitigate any unpleasant odors. Despite their hard work, there is room for improvement in ensuring that cleaning staff remain visible even after 2 pm, contributing to a cleaner and more pleasant environment.”
Lastly, information boards at the hospital entrance indicating available services and the doctors on duty would greatly facilitate the patient’s journey through the hospital.
In conclusion, I extend my profound gratitude to all the individuals who played a pivotal role in my father’s treatment. I have faith that the hospital administration will consider these suggestions earnestly as they endeavor to enhance the quality of service provided at SMHS Hospital.
(The author is a renowned columnist and motivational speaker. He currently serves as the Senior EDP Head at DD Target PMT Kashmir and can be reached at [email protected])