Rains run riot for patients, staff at Gandhi hospital
Flooded and run-down ICU and wards force authorities at Parel hospital to shift out 7 ICU patients to other hospitals; will wait for monsoon to end before admitting more patients
Commuters buckling under monsoon deluge is routine for the city. But patients in ICU in this hospital have it no better. At Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Parel, patients suffering from fatal diseases are under threat from another problem: the monsoon.
Many wards, including the intensive care unit, as well as the pantry room have been waterlogged since Saturday night. The incessant rains only made the flooding worse on Sunday, necessitating shifting the patients to other facilities like KEM, ESIS and JJ Hospitals the day after.
“We will not be taking any indoor patients until the monsoon gets over in September-October as the problem is quite out of control. However, out-patients departments (OPD) will be functioning and all their staff will be working,” said Nimesh Shah, medical superintendent.
Sandeep Sapkade, senior resident in the ICU, said that a total of seven patients from the ICU have been shifted. Two of them were cardiac attack patients, two others had dengue and malaria and the rest had respiratory problems.
Overrun by chaos
On Sunday night, Chandravati Gawd, who was admitted in the ICU last Wednesday after a cardiac attack, slipped and fell into the knee-high water while getting up to go to the washroom. She was caught in time by a nurse stationed close by, and on Monday shifted to ESIS Hospital in Worli. As patients with severe ailments were being shifted out, many had to wait till late afternoon until the few ambulances got free and came to their service.
“My brother was admitted here yesterday (Sunday) for a high fever. He has been referred to KEM but we have been waiting for the ambulance to arrive. We were told to take a taxi but he is weak and unable to walk, so that is not possible,” said Namrata Thorbole, sister of patient Santosh Chavan.
Savalram Panchal (44), suffers from Parkinson’s disease and has generalised rigidity for a month now. “He has been referred to JJ but I can’t take him there. We do not know when we’ll get an ambulance. I will take him home now,” said his wife, Manorama Savalram Panchal.
The roofs of the ICU and other wards are leaking profusely. Water has been seeping through walls every time it rains. Bad drainage lines have ensured latrines on all the floors clog and erupt, spewing faeces on the floors in halls, wards and passageways, infesting the place with germs. The situation has been particularly foul since Saturday until Sunday, when nurses had to wade through all this filth while they were on call.
“Since there is a severe crunch of ward boys, we have to do most of the work. We only have one lift, which is slow due to poor maintenance. The other two have been inoperative for over five years now. It was very difficult for us to serve patients using scarce resources,” said a nurse working on the weekend, pleading anonymity.
She added the nursing staff of the facility was on a strike in the hospital from 7 am to 10 am yesterday, demanding better facilities. “We have given everything in writing to the higher officials and expect to see a change,” said the nurse.
On Monday, around 6 am, the electricity supply in the hospital was severed to prevent incidents of shocks and electrocution. “We saw sparks and smoke coming out of the meter room. So BEST employees came and cut off the power to prevent short circuit,” said Eknath Lasthe, who is the engineer.
Hospital authorities blame the construction activity under way on the premises for the spate indoors. “Construction work has been going on since 2009 as the hospital is in the process of becoming a medical college. The debris gets accumulated in drains, causing waterlogging,” said Shah.
He said the construction body is under the National Buildings Construction Corporation and that the hospital administration had written to it asking for precautionary steps during monsoon, but there has been as no response. “Two of the buildings should be complete by March 2014, so we will hopefully not have any problems next monsoon,” he said.
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