If the events of the last few days are anything to go by, private hospitals seem to value money over human life and government hospitals give preference to procedures and protocols, leaving the hapless aam aadmi nowhere to go.
Shrikant Gharat at the hospital yesterday
Just days after a Borivli hospital let a biker die over a Rs 9,000 shortfall in fee, the civic-run Sion Hospital left a 48-year-old accident victim bleeding outside its trauma ward for an entire night.
Doctors at the hospital did not even touch the victim, much less treat him, until nearly 16 hours after he fell off a train at Vidyavihar on Sunday, ensuring that his stretcher was soaked in blood and his condition was critical by the time they got around to paying any attention to him yesterday morning.
Even after that, they put him on a ventilator and said they couldn’t operate on him for his fractures since his condition was critical, and would have to wait for his condition to stabilise. He was battling for his life until late last night.
Shrikant Gharat, a 48-year-old Uran resident, was on his way home after meeting his sister at Ghatkopar, when he fell off a local train at Vidyavihar station due to the excess rush around 7 pm on Sunday.
RPF personnel rushed Gharat to the civic-run Rajawadi Hospital in Ghatkopar and informed his relatives about the incident. “We received the call around 7:30 pm and immediately reached the hospital. He had several injuries on his leg, head and hands. We were told to get MRI and CT scans done because of his injuries,” said Kavita Mhatre, Gharat’s niece.
Doctors at the hospital said that the results of the scans were normal but added that they wouldn’t be able to treat Gharat’s rib and kneecap fractures and other injuries as they didn’t have a doctor available in their trauma ward. They asked Gharat’s relatives to move him to Sion Hospital, which was done around 9.30 pm on Sunday.
Bled for a bed
Gharat’s relatives claim that he spent the entire night on the stretcher outside the trauma ward at Sion Hospital since authorities at the civic hospital said they didn’t have a bed available inside.
“The doctors at Rajawadi had already enquired whether beds were available in the trauma ward and asked us to move him to Sion Hospital only after they got a positive reply. Still, doctors there kept him outside the trauma ward on the stretcher for the entire night and did not treat him,” said Samir Gharat, Shrikant’s nephew.
The doctors agreed to move Gharat into the trauma ward around 11:30 am yesterday, but he had already lost consciousness due to overnight internal and external bleeding. “His stretcher was soaked in blood by the time he was transferred, but the doctors did not treat him the entire night,” said Kavita.
The relatives were left aghast when the doctors asked the relatives to get the MRI and CT scans done, claiming that hospital procedure did not allow them to treat Gharat until the scans were done. “Even though we had done the tests at Rajawadi Hospital, we were asked to get the scans done again in the morning.
Even after getting the results, the doctor sent us back to the technician to get a written result of the CT scan claiming that the scan sheet was not clear,” said Kavita. They had to wait another two hours to get the written CT scan result, which revealed that everything was normal.
After checking the results, doctors finally announced that Gharat’s condition was critical. The relatives claimed that at no point they were updated about the line of treatment or what exactly was wrong with Gharat and that he was directly put on ventilator support. “At 1.30 pm, they told us that he was critical and was showing no signs of recovery and that they couldn’t operate on the fractured kneecaps or ribs until he stabilised,” added Kavita.
The other side
Dr Avinash Supe, dean, Sion Hospital, said that he wasn’t aware of the case and asked us to contact the doctor in charge. “At times we don’t have beds available but, being a multi-speciality public hospital, we can’t deny patients admission or put up a house-full board. At the moment, the patient is unconscious and we are trying our best to stabilise him. We can’t perform any surgery on him till he responds to medication,” said a doctor from Sion Hospital, on condition of anonymity.