Though she’s now shying away from taking any credit for it, a prophetic letter sent by a nurse of Nowrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital to the matron on October 11 has shed considerable light on the circumstances that led to the kidnapping of a day-old baby from a postpartum ward last week. It’s noteworthy that the matron had allegedly brushed off Sister-in-charge Priscilla’s concerns about dearth of staff and the possibility of a newborn being kidnapped as ‘silly’.
Nurse’s warning to matron: ‘Baby may get kidnapped’
A fortnight later, a yet unidentified woman walked out of the 86-year-old medical centre with the baby boy of Devdas and Jasmine Naik. The couple now claims that the hospital administration has been sitting on an important issue related to the security – or the lack of it – at the facility.
Matron’s response: ‘Don’t waste my time’
Despite this letter that warned about a possible threat to the infants from thieves, Nowrosjee Wadia Maternity hospital’s matron Alka Shinde allegedly neglected the warning. In a reply to the communication from Sister Priscilla, matron Shinde rubbished her requests by stating that all available staff had been posted on duty. Shinde allegedly also requested the sister-in-charge to ‘not waste her time by writing such silly things’.
When MiD DAY contacted Sister Priscilla – in-charge of wards 9 and 10 –, she initially denied having written any such letter. Later, when a copy of the document was produced in front of her, she admitted to it and the reply she received from the matron. “I had written this in our complaint register a few days before the abduction occurred. I am unaware of how this letter landed up in the hands of the media. I cannot comment on anything related to this letter,” she told us.
In 2010, the management shut down the BJ Wadia Hospital for Children in Parel on the pretext of renovation work, and shifted all the patients and employees to the Nowrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital building.
According to sources, following this transition the hospital staff has been overtaxed. “Nowrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital only has a capacity of 300 beds, but 245 beds more were shifted here from the children’s hospital. This has forced the staff to fit as many beds as possible in a single ward, which leaves patients with little room to walk. Certain beds have been set up on the corridor outside some wards, and women who have recently delivered babies are forced to lie there. This increases the possibility of infection and puts the safety of newborns at risk.”
A senior nurse at the hospital, on condition of anonymity, said, “Our nursing staff is overworked and burdened with too many responsibilities. This forces several nurses to do double shifts on many occasions. Under such circumstances, how do you expect these employees to not take leaves or be more vigilant? We have put up several requests regarding recruitment of more people but no action has been taken by the management yet.”
Medical Director Dr MJ Jassawala, and Matron Alka Shinde (who replied to Sister Priscilla’s letter) of Nowrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital refused to meet our reporter, claiming that they were in an important meeting. When we tried contacting them on their mobile phones, they were found to be switched off.
Important points that Sister Priscilla raised in her letter:
>> Wards filled with relatives who walk into duty room
>> This can cause infection (to the babies)
>> Newborns may get kidnapped
>> Only one staffer on duty at a time
Reply by Matron Alka Shinde:
>> It is not that I have more people and am purposely not giving them to your ward
>> In every ward, except important ones, there is only one staffer
>> There already are two medical students deployed for full evening duty
>> Please don’t waste your time and mine in writing silly things
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