Nair hospital does IPL a favour it didn't ask for

Apr 18, 2012, 07:06 IST | Priyanka Vora

Sends ambulance with 3-doctor team twice to Wankhede stadium during matches, realises its officials misread police circular asking authorities to be prepared for emergency

The deified sport of cricket, specially high-octane glamour cricket, may now be extolled for another non-sporting feat. It has made creaky civic-run hospital machinery act with swift agility to execute a task that wasn’t needed. For the IPL matches on April 6 and 11, the BMC-run Nair hospital conscientiously sent a team of three doctors from medicine, surgery and anaesthesia departments in a well-equipped cardiac ambulance to Wankhede stadium.

Reading beyond the lines: As a safety measure, the Marine Drive police had asked civic hospitals to stay prepared during IPL matches, since a large number of fans were expected at Wankhede stadium. But Nair hospital went a step beyond and dispatched an ambulance to the stadium. File pic

The authorities were, or at least thought they were, complying with the request circulated by the Marine Drive police, which, in light of the magnitude of the event, asked civic hospitals to be ready to respond to any emergency. On April 17, when the drill was being repeated, senior doctors at the facility raised eyebrows over doctors being sent to stand by at private matches. So the hospital authorities referred to the police circular dated April 3 to assure themselves that they were doing only what was necessary.

Erring on caution’s side
But no assurance was to be had. There was only the self-conscious realisation that they had misread the circular. The Marine Drive police had asked the hospital to be prepared in case of any emergency, considering the huge turnout at the matches. They had not asked for emergency response services to be deputed to the stadium.

Dr M K Sanjana, acting dean of Nair hospital, said, “For two matches our doctors had gone to the venue with a well-equipped cardiac ambulance. But later, it was brought to my notice that the police had only asked us to keep our services prepared at the hospital. We misread it.” One of the doctors sent to the venue said, “When we reached, we saw that a few ambulances had already been stationed by the organisers. They asked us if we had the entry passes. Since we didn’t, we simply waited inside the ambulance for the entire duration the match was on.”

No docs to spare
Dr Sanjay Oak, director of major civic hospitals, including Nair, said, “I have not signed any orders to send doctors to any of the matches. Our hospitals are already short-staffed. We cannot afford to send our doctors to such private events.” A senior doctor from the hospital assented. “We are already understaffed. Even if our doctors are asked to go for such events, it is a waste of manpower. Even if one doctor has to be deputed for such outdoor duty, the entire schedule of the department has to be reworked, and patients are at a loss.”

Zunjarrao Maruti Gharal, senior PI, Marine Drive police station, said, “We had sent the circular to all the hospitals asking them to be prepared. This is a routine we follow in case of events that attract a large number of people. We have not mentioned anywhere for the hospital to depute doctors or ambulance at the stadium.” BMC disaster management cell’s chief officer M Narvekar said, “If the hospital had pre-positioned their ambulance, it is nothing wrong. They simply did it as a precautionary step to avoid any untoward incident.” 

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