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International Nurses Day: Of praises, scorn, and apartheid

Capture 5

Srinagar: She was once known as Kashmir’s Florence Nightingale for her dedication and compassion towards poor and ailing.  

Come May 9, life took a turn for worse when the 27-year-old staff nurse at Government Super Specialty Hospital tested positive for coronavirus.


“I felt like a thief who was caught stealing and police was sent for me. My four years of working in the hospital didn’t matter. Not a single soul came to console me. They could have stood at a distance and given me a fake reassurance. Nobody came. Nobody!” she broke down.

All lauds and praises for her hard work and sleepless duty hours were replaced with scorn and contempt, as she received the call confirming her test reports. “The moment, Hospital administration got a whiff of my positive status, a new world with different people appeared before me, who were completely indifferent to my plight,” she said.

The staff nurse was made to sit aloof in a room for a long time till ambulance from Chest Diseases Hospital, Srinagar stopped by the gate.   The nurse recalled her constant pleading with staffers in the ambulance.

“I told them I will get some clothes and some essential things with me. They didn’t listen,” she said.

The next shocker came at the CD Hospital, where she was not allowed to get into the isolation ward till she paid 50 rupees for the ticket. “I had no money, clothes, nothing with me, and yet they were making me wait again for a petty sum of fifty rupees,” she said as tears swell her eyes. 

To make the matters worse, the two nurses share a common washroom with other patients in the isolation ward.  “The doors of the washroom cannot be bolted and there is no flush system. We have not bathed since we came here. Also, the bedsheets were changed after three days when we repeatedly requested them,” another 25-year-old nurse said.

She said back in her native village, her family is being stigmatized.

“My family members are being made to run in circles. They are yet to be screened. The villagers despise them. Is it what I have achieved after serving my community?” she said sniffling loudly.

Medical Superintendent Dr. Salim Tak, Chest Diseases Hospital, Srinagar said the hospital administration is aware of the problems. “We are presently doing some renovation and a new 35-bedded well-equipped ward is under construction. Once it’s completed, we will shift the patients there,” he said.