The next time you need to head to Sion hospital, Ghatkopar’s Rajawadi Hospital or Mumbai Central’s BYL Nair hospital, think again. A Right To Information (RTI) query into the deaths in Mumbai’s civic-run hospitals threw up disturbing statistics — over the past 13 years, one lakh patients died in the above-mentioned hospitals.
At Nair hospital, between 2001 and 2013, 29,650 out of 33 lakh admitted patients passed away
RTI activist Anand Pargaonkar’s query was directed to all public hospitals in the city, but hospital authorities of only three hospitals provided him with statistics of their mortality rate. Between 2001 to 2013, at Rajawadi hospital, 16,014 out of the 55 lakh patients (including outpatients) died. At Nair hospital, 29,650 out of 33 lakh admitted patients passed away. Most shockingly, 63, 313 out of 1.94 crore patients admitted at Sion hospital died in this period. On an average, eight patients died in these hospitals every day.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), however, refused to accept the RTI finding. “The number is too high for us to believe. These figures may be wrong. We will investigate the matter,” said Sanjay Deshmukh, additional municipal commissioner, who is in-charge of the Public Health Department.
Dr Abhay Shukla, public health specialist and national co-convener of the Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, emphasised that the BMC must analyse this issue. “The number does seem large, and many patients are admitted to the hospital only when they are at the last stages of their disease. However, the BMC must look into the precise causes of these deaths. They should take preventive measures — that’s one area they lack in.”
At the standing committee meeting of civic officials on Friday, Pravin Chheda, a Congress corporator from Ghatkopar said, “There is an urgent need to improve services in the civic- run hospitals.”
Death rate, per 1000 population
>> Island city: 11.97
>> Western suburbs: 6
>> Eastern suburb: 5.62
>> The BMC has 16 general hospitals in the city and 161 general dispensaries
>> In 2012-13, the BMC’s estimated annual health expenditure on health was R2,530 crore