By Nazir Jahangir
SKIMS or Sher-I-Kashmir Institute Of Medical Sciences was commissioned in the year 1982. This Institute has been providing medical and surgical services in multi disciplines of clinical medicine, such as Cardiology, Urology, Gastroenterology, Neurology, Nephrology, Oncology, besides, kidney Transplant, Hepatobillary surgery, Plastic Surgery, Cardio-Vascuular and Thoracic surgery etc. No doubt, this Institute is contributing to the healthcare needs of Kashmir, and Jammu as well, to a great extent, and there have always been, of course, some faculty members and nursing, paramedics and other staff who work dedicatedlly to make this Institute a centre of excellence and deliver quality care. But this is also a fact that this Institute is yet to go a long way to achieve those levels of high standards in respect of patient care for which people of Jammu and Kashmir have pinned their hopes with it. Agreed, it has reduced the dependence on outside medical consultations, but has not completly controlled that. It has yet to come up to that level where it can claim to cater entire needs of people so that they are not forced to rely on outside medical treatments and move outside. We should not feel shy to accept that we still have to learn many things from othe Super Speciality Health Care Institutions of the country and what corporate sector has done in this field. We acknowledge the contributions of SKIMS but cannot shut eyes towards the grievances of patients which they often ventilate about the misbehaving of its medical staff, their arrogance and non-accountiblity against the mistakes of concerned staff. It is true that some wonderful experiments and successful surgeries in some complicated cases, and researches, have brought SKIMS a global recognition also, so those efforts have been well taken and appreciated by one and all. It has also offered uninterrupted services in very difficult and unfavourable situations, so that sentiment too is to be acclaimed. Its endeavours to develop adequately in Urology field has brought laurels to this Institution and the mesmerising personality of this department Dr. M. Saleem Wani Sahib has propelled it to the great heights of excellence. But one Dr Saleem, or only a Director or a few other “superstar” doctors of this Institute, cannot cure the negative characteristics of every individual in this Institute, so each and everyone who is anyone there has to play his or her role to sketch a good image of this hospital on the minds of people. The Director concerned too needs support and cooperation of each individual to invigorate the system of this organization. Popularly this Institute is regarded and considered a ‘Hope’ but there are some people who narrate horrible experiences about this hospital, and such reports have been surfacing in the media also. Steps need to be taken to make this Institute a loving place, not a horror zone. It has otherwise earned some unpalatable epithets already. Director of this Institute is expected to find better ways in making this Institute a hope of life, light and love. This Institute is graced by the presence of other ‘Medical heavyweights’ like Dr. Javid Rasol of Heptomology Department and many other reputed doctors of other disciplines also. But we should accept this reality also that many useless fellows too have succeeded to occupy some chairs there.
This is need of the hour that institute goes with the tune of time and not lag behind in introducing robotic surgical system to improve the patient care at this premier hospital. But presumably, SKIMS has not procured this cutting edge technology as yet. Non-availability of this technology at SKIMS has left it far behind to the other premier hospitals of the country. Once a doctor had asserted that in absence of this latest technology the surgical skills of surgeons will be worthless and obsolete because the future of surgeries depends upon it. But what I have learned from my own experiences is that just fancy equipment does not make a hospital great and best. It is the dedication and discipline which are deemed the bedrock on which rests the edifice of an Institute. If doctors and the nurses of a hospital are dedicated, that passion actually creates an environment where a patient leaves the hospital with a nice memory of wonderful treatment. Unfortunately, this sentiment is not generally visible. Mere latest equipments and functions cannot deliver things. SKIMS need to translate the innovative ideas of its creative doctors into practical and shape this Institute on modern lines and correct the mistakes which often are mirrored in unsatisfactory reports. Holding seminars and programmes should not be a tactic of presentation designed to create a favourable impression. Something concrete should come to the surface.
Nazir Jahangir is a columnist