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Patients suffer as hospital hunts for radiologist

Patients visiting the civic-run MW Desai hospital in Malad are running out of patience with the facility’s lack of resources to diagnose their ills. The hospital had one radiologist until now, who used to visit the facility once a week for three hours. Even his term expired on January 31, leaving the hospital’s diagnostic procedures in the lurch.

Sneha Jadhav Shanti Bomulu
Sneha Jadhav, 40, and Shanti Bomulu, 35, complained that their sonography appointments were cancelled more than once, and they were later referred to other hospitals

Usually, a tertiary hospital’s departmental unit is supposed to have at least one honorary doctor, one registrar and one houseman. But the crunch at the peripheral Desai hospital has forced patients in Malad to travel all the way to Bhagwati hospital in Borivli or Bhabha hospital in Bandra for a sonography.

Until now, Bhabha and MW Desai hospitals shared the services of the same radiologist, Dr Deepak Bhalerao. During his weekly visit to Desai hospital, he would attend to not more than 20 patients, sources said. Patients would arrive as early as 8 am to queue up for the token but most would be asked to come the following week.

Even the doctor’s weekly visits were not consistent, patients complained. Sources said that pregnant women would have to line up for hours to undergo a sonography, sometimes only to find out that the doctor was absent.
Shanti Bomulu (35), who works as a domestic help, said, “I was asked to undergo a sonography on January 22 for chronic abdominal pain. When I arrived for my appointment, I had to wait for three hours only to be told to come back on January 30. But due to a strike at Bhabha hospital, the doctor failed to arrive even this time. Now I have been given an appointment for February 6.”

Another housemaid Sneha Jadhav (40) said, “My husband Subhash was admitted to the hospital on January 15 for abdominal pain and was discharged five days later. Doctors gave him a sonography appointment for January 23, but when we reached the hospital we were asked to get it done at Bhagwati hospital, which has a long waiting list. So we have been given an appointment for February 7.”
She also said the doctor skipped his January 30 visit due to the strike.

Filling the spot
MW Desai hospital’s medical superintendent S Gongade said, “There is a shortage of radiologists at our hospital. We never had a provision for a full time doctor at our hospital. After several requests we were assigned a radiologist from Bhabha hospital, who used to visit once a week for three hours. But his term of six months ended on January 31. Interviews for a new radiologist will begin from February 1. Until then, we are not sure who would attend to patients.”

He said a request has been sent to the BMC authorities to provide two doctors for radiology and make them visit twice a week. He also said that staff is needed in other departments like orthopaedic, ophthalmology, ENT and gynaecology. Chief medical superintendent for all peripheral hospitals Seema Malik said, “Dr Bhalerao’s term is over. We have authorised the hospital to employ a private doctor until a new doctor is hired.” 

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