At SKIMS, it is a tough call for doctors to make

Kashmir crisis

When 14-year-old Ubaid Mushtaq breathed his last at the Sheri Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) in Srinagar, it was a tough call for the doctors to make – whether they should declare him dead or keep him on ventilator till the people are calmed.

Doctors at the valley's only tertiary care hospital – that receives patients with critical injuries - say that they are working under serious pressure as they have told that no injured should die or that if somebody succumbs he should not be declared dead.

"We have been told by our bosses that nobody should die. They told us that they have been directed by the government," said a senior doctor at SKIMS. "We have been told that if some body succumbs, he should not be declared dead".

Doctors say they have been told to put such patients on ventilators. "It is ethically wrong to on ventilator a patient who has already passed out," said the doctor. "Also, we may need ventilators to save some patients who can be saved by it".

The state government has already directed the J-K Police to make sure that they don't fire on the protests under any circumstances. The government wants to minimize the civilian casualties so that the protests over the hanging of Afzal Guru don't spiral.

"We have been told to ensure there is no civilian casualty in any case," said a police officer assigned the law and order duty in Srinagar. "We have been told to use minimum and non-lethal force to disperse the protestors".

The decision has been taken in the backdrop of 2010 summer uprising, when the killing of youth triggered a vicious circle of killings and protests that lasted for almost five months.

In past as well the government has asked the doctors to delay declaring dead wounded patients fearing that more people may take out to streets to participate in their funeral processions.

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