On February 2, it was reported how parents of critical one-and-a-half-year old were made to run from pillar-to-post by over seven hospitals through the night for want of beds. Shabhas Ali went out to play the previous evening when a roadside food cart toppled over him, crushing his chest and leading to internal bleeding. The 'golden hour' rule was killed as his father Shaitu was shunted between seven hospitals for want of a bed and inability to pay a hefty deposit. To add to their anguish, Shahbas Ali, who has been unconscious through the night, had to be kept on support of a manual resuscitator with his family physically pumping it for hours till he was finally admitted to Sion hospital on a second try
Five major hospitals, Sion, Nair, KEM, JJ and Wadia, didn't have a single vacancy in the PICU to admit Shahbas, the son of a daily wager from Virar. Desperate, they approached private hospitals Seven Hills and Holy Spirit, "but they refused to do anything without the deposit ranging between Rs 50,000 and Rs 60,000 being handed in. It was only after we went back to Sion hospital that they managed to find an empty slot for the child at 6.30 am when another patient was discharged. But, the doctor has told me that his health has deteriorated due to the delay in getting the treatment," rued Shaitu
The worst treatment was meted out to the family by the staff at JJ hospital that abdicated all responsibility by making the family sign off a 'negative consent' letter and even threatening this reporter over recording the event. Shahbas uncle Gul Mohammad Shah said. "After KEM and Nair, when we took him to JJ Hospital, they refused to admit him. Shaitu begged the authorities to admit the child. "He is lying unconscious since the accident and can't even breathe. If I can't save my child, I will commit suicide here," he pleaded. The hospital washed their hands off the matter with a letter in English that read, "At present as there is no PICU vacancy at JJ. I am not ready to admit my child in the ward at my own risk and I will not hold the treating doctor and staff responsible to any untoward consequences."
Health rights activists raised the need to develop a centralised system to assist patients in case of such emergencies. BMC last year had planned to develop a software that would help by giving information about vacancies in emergency services. "If a hospital doesn't have a PICU or ICU, they refer patients to another hospital without knowing if they have a vacancy. A simple call to the emergency number can assist the emergency patient, but doctors don't even bother to do so. So there is a need to develop a centralised system to know where beds are available. This problem can be solved by developing centralised software, but neither the BMC nor the government is bothered," said Dr Ravikant Singh, a health activist
Shahbas Ali battled internal bleeding for five days in Sion Hospital's paediatric intensive care unit (PICU), but lost his battle to death on Monday, February 6. His father blamed the callous attitude of hospitals, who refused to admit him either citing unavailability of beds or their inability to cough up a hefty admission deposit. The state health department said it will conduct an inquiry into the incident and announced the setting up of a centralised system that assists patients in similar emergencies. "We fought to save our child, but we couldn't. He was critical and yet seven hospitals refused to admit him. This delayed his treatment; he had severe internal bleeding. Even after finally admitting him in Sion hospital, the doctors there didn't take proper care of him," said Shaitu. The toddler's post-mortem was conducted at Sion hospital on February 6