The casualty figures in the Amarnath attack would have been higher had doctors and paramedics at the district hospital in South Kashmir’s Anantnag not worked through the night on Monday. “The first thing we did was to prepare our operation theater as we didn’t want to refer any patient to Srinagar,” Dr Majeed Mehrab, Medical Superintendent, Anantnag, told The Indian Express.
He added that soon after the attack, he received an SOS call from the administration about the attack. “We had 20 people on night duty as per protocol. When I was informed about the attack, I flashed the message on our WhatsApp group and our staff doctors and paramedics who were not even on duty responded and came to hospital in their private vehicles to help the injured,’’ Mehrab said.
The medical superintendent further said that people from Anantnag town and the peripheral areas came to hospital and voluntarily offered monetary support for the injured pilgrims. “Many offered us money for the injured, but we refused as the hospital has sufficient funds to meet any exigency. But we used the services of local volunteers for crowd control outside the minor and major operation theatres (OTs) as everybody was trying to meet the injured pilgrims,’’ Mehrab said
As per the medical superintendent, the injured began being brought to the hospital at around 8:50 pm. “We first received three pilgrims with bullet injuries. Two of them had vascular injuries and hip fractures. They were stabilised and then referred to the Bone and Joint Hospital in Srinagar. Two patients with serious injuries were taken to the operation theatre, where our experts conducted two major surgeries and saved their lives,” Mehrab said.
When the two surgeons — Dr Azad and Dr Zahoor Malik — were conducting the surgeries, J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and her deputy, Nirmal Singh, were in the hospital and interacted with the injured patients. Apart from managing the injured patients, the doctors were keenly watching critical patients.
Lauding the Anantnag doctors, J&K Director (Health) Saleem-ur-Rehman said they had showed similar resolve during the 2014 floods and the unrest in 2016. He added that at least four to six patients who were treated in the district hospital couldn’t have reached Srinagar, which is around 50 kilometres away.
“The doctors did a wonderful job by operating on the patients at the district hospital where every facility was kept ready. In Kashmir, our staff has always been doing this in case of any emergency,” Saleem-ur-Rehman said.
Medical superintendent Mehrab said that even after the injured patients were stabilised, the doctors and paramedics stayed at the hospital, only going at 5 am after all admitted patients were discharged from the hospital and handed over to district administration.