Mumbai: Heart patient at Sion Hospital goes to pee, loses his bed

Jan 01, 2019, 07:45 IST | Rupsa Chakraborty

Construction work at Sion Hospital has forced patients to be packed like sardines in the wards; leave your bed for even a few minutes, it is assigned to someone else

Mumbai: Heart patient at Sion Hospital goes to pee, loses his bed
Arun Kumar Kongari was already sharing his bed with Nikhil Pradeep Kapdne

Patients at Sion hospital now have to guard their beds as fiercely as the fourth seat in a rush hour local train. If they do so much as move to go to the washroom, their bed will be given to someone else. That's exactly what happened to cardiac patient Arun Kumar Kongari, 34, whose bed was given to another patient in the few minutes he left it to go to the washroom.

Thanks to the construction work going on in the ward building, patients are being forced to share beds. Some of them even end up sleeping on the floor because it is more comfortable. For Kongari, however, this condition worsened on Saturday, December 29.

While patients are forced to share beds, some also end up sleeping on the floor because it is more comfortable
While patients are forced to share beds, some also end up sleeping on the floor because it is more comfortable

Kongari, who'd undergone angioplasty in 2015, was admitted to the hospital on December 16, after he complained of breathlessness. He was admitted into the ICU, and shifted to ward 32 on December 19. Like other patients, he was sharing a bed, with his neighbour being one Nikhil Pradeep Kapdne.

Bed today, gone tonight
On Saturday, around 2 am, Kongari got up from his bed and made his way to the washroom. By the time he was back, his bed had been given to another patient. "I was so shocked to see another patient on my bed. I was already sharing my bed with a second patient. In the five minutes that I was in the washroom, my side of the bed was given to a third patient and I was asked to look for a bed," he said.

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When he complained about the situation to hospital officials, the third patient was shifted to another bed. "The situation is so horrible that we're scared to even go to the washroom or take a stroll in the hospital. We keep sitting on our beds. At night, when patients fail to sleep together, they often sleep on the floor, which is more comfortable. Because of that, one side of the bed next to me was vacant, so they shifted Nikhil there," he said.

Two patients have to share one bed because of the ongoing construction work at the hospital
Two patients have to share one bed because of the ongoing construction work at the hospital

Construction to blame
The situation is same in almost all of the wards due to ongoing construction work in the ward building. Several wards have been closed for it, putting additional pressure on the remaining ones. Though many patients are being referred to other hospitals, the situation is turning into a nightmare for patients and doctors. All of this is happening at the major BMC-run hospital that receives a footfall of 2,000 people every day.

A resident doctor at the hospital said, "A part of the hospital is under construction, which is being undertaken in three phases. The first phase has been completed and the second phase has started, due to which several wards have been closed down. This is leading to the pressure. We're also trying to accommodate the patients in the availed space, but considering the overflow of patients, it is turning into a nightmare," said a resident doctor from the hospital.

Patients often end up sleeping on the floor at night
Patients often end up sleeping on the floor at night

Dean says
Speaking to mid-day, Dr Jayashree Mondkar, dean of Sion hospital, said the hospital shouldn't be blamed for the problem. She said the construction is being done to extend the bed capacity of the hospital up to 1,900 beds."Being a civic-run hospital, we can't send any patient back, so we're taking in all the patients. It's not like they're not getting treatment. The hospital is getting an upgrade, so what can we do? We could not have made any space in an alternative building to shift the patients before starting the work." Upon being asked why the patients are not being referred to other hospitals, she said, "There is no space in KEM or Nair either. They are also under pressure. We can't refer patients to private hospitals. If we do, we will be blamed for taking commission. No one is highlighting how we're upgrading the hospital."

'Sharing beds violates rules'
Dr Saeeda Khan, a member of the BMC health panel and a corporator of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) said that this issue had already been raised in the health committee meeting, "Sharing a bed with other patients is in complete violation of BMC's rules and can cause infections to spread among patients. Who has given them the right to keep two patients on a single bed? There is a need for proper planning. We'd suggested referring patients to KEM and Nair hospitals, except if the patient is in a critical condition. We need to know why they are being kept together. I'll look into the matter." After speaking to the hospital authority, Khan was informed that other wards are also facing the same problem. A suggestion was made to procure foldable beds for patients. "We'd clearly told the BMC health authority that the hospital needs foldable beds but they don't have it yet. So there are three patients per bed - two on the bed and one below, which is inhuman," she said.

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