Except one small bitterness the experience was heart-winning.
We have a vast network of healthcare units spread in length and breadth of the state with a huge budgetary allocation. But alas! Much of our healthcare units are decaying. The primary and secondary healthcare system located in countryside is worst hit. These units lack proper management and the tender touch of medical ethics. At block, tehsil and district headquarters too, the situation is not satisfactory. This situation of quandary in our basic healthcare system has impeded the whole referral chain and strained much of our specialized healthcare units mostly located in urban areas.
My personal experience was different and fortunately ended at a positive note. After getting a sound harassment from private healthcare mafia for more than a month a sincere cardiologist true to his medical ethics advised me to have specialized treatment either at SKIMS or somewhere outside the state. We tried our best to go for the second option but my heart gave way much sooner than expected and landed at critical care unit of SKIMS. Surely, SKIMS is the true manifestation of late Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah’s visionary leadership; a marvellous conception of specialized treatment center and a potential hub of medical tourism. Out of all the departments’ cardiology department at SKIMS is comparatively in a better shape. Here my blood vascular system was put to advance X-ray guided scanning procedure—known as angiography in medical parlance. True to the apprehensions of the doctor who referred me to SKIMS, doctors decided to go for interventional procedure of angioplasty to ease out the obstructions in my vascular system.
I had been under the surgical knife some thirty years earlier as well but that time it was under the influence of general anaesthesia. However, this time round it was a unique experience of being partially under the surgical knife of an interventional-cardiologist and the humiliating pushes of an intimidating paramedic, that too without any anaesthetic touch. While interacting with the doctor during the procedure it was news for me that the blood vascular system has no sensation of its own. He rightly said, ‘this is the beauty of this procedure’. During the whole procedure I watched the entire process on the monitor and the doctors helped me in understanding the finer points.
I can say, beyond my march towards recovery it was a great experience of learning and watching the wonders of medical science that too in the company of fellow Kashmiri doctors with magical fingers and alert mind. However, true to our Kashmiri trademark there were some deliberate flaws and negligence. The doctor who began the preparation for the procedure asked the paramedic in attendance for a new surgical blade to clear the area for the incision. The paramedic instead provided a used blade, to which the doctor gave an exclamatory look, but accepted the offer. So, the first brush of possible infection was given to my body. I could have objected, but I reconciled to the hapless situation. In an excellent aseptic scientific situation, such a blunder can be termed as ‘more than a criminal negligence’. As always the die of probability never cast in my favor and later an infection developed on my skin due to wilful negligence of an ignorant paramedic and has left a scar on my body and psyche. Ending at an optimistic note; even after this goofy affair I will give eight out of ten to the SKIMS, its cardiology section and the magical hands of meticulous doctors.