Premier hospitals of the city remain deprieved of basic public amenities. As most of the patients and their attendants have no option but to sleep on floors for want of beds. Such sights are very common these days in the PGIMER, Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH-16) Sector 16, Government Medical College and hospital (GMCH-32) Sector 32 and Civil Hospital Manimajra.
Long queues of patients and their attendants can be witnessed at OPDs, while many patients lying on the stretchers and wheelchairs under the open sky, bringing to the fore the pathetic condition of the hapless people in front of such prestigious health institutions. Relatives making a beeline for free food served outside by the city-based philanthropists is the only hope for the patients and their attendants for making their stay a bit easier.
People are seen jostling for having some space in the dark and dingy shelter homes or Serais of the hospitals amidst pungent smell at the hospital toilets, facing compulsive huamn misery and poverty, Parks and lawns of the hospitals and outside turn into temporary staying spots for the countless patients, and pavements brimming with ill people and their attendants finding it difficult to have a breathing space where they can have a bit of sleep after waiting for their ordeal to end with treatment.There are city’s three pride health institutions, but the healthcare is not that easily available to the end patient.
Overcrowding at PGI is forcing patients to sleep on the floor in corridors, lawns and roadside. And while things are not so grim at GMCH-32, the hospital has its own shortcomings that cause inconvenience to patients, including the in-house power struggle among doctors affecting health services, countless complaints of inefficient staff and cleanliness issues are prevalent inside the wards.
Though these hospitals were designated to serve only a few lakh patients from in and around the city, they now cater to patients of the entire northern region. Heavy rush of patients from the region leaves these hospital overcrowded where doctors and staff fall short in coping with the situation, leaving the premier health institutions ailing.
Long wait at every junction from the OPD registration counter, outside doctor’s office, at the chemist stores to the scanning and other medical examination facilities, outside the toilet – all add up to the never ending woes of patients, most of whom are already reeling under the multiple pressures of deadly disease, homesickness, poverty and illiteracy.
Unfortunately, misery doesn’t even end with death here. If a patient dies, family has to wait for several hours, even days to get formalities done and get the body.Lucky are those who get a vehicle to ferry the body of their near-dear ones home. Lack of basic facilities like an ample number of ambulances to ferry patients and bodies outside the hospitals is another issue haunting the three institutes of national and international repute.
But the cake of inconvenience goes to the VIPs when they call on any of these hospitals for treatment. While their mere presence is enough to cripple health services in the entire institute, the after-effects can be witnessed long after the ‘guests of honour’ are gone. Patients continue to bear the brunt of the VIP visits with no logical end in sight. Many critical patients even lose their fight against lives in wait for health services usurped by VIP patients or those with ‘connections’. But authorities make sure to stifle such cases under the red carpet that was rolled out to their VIP guests.
In the midst of suffering patients and their families and overworked doctors are the middlemen who have a field day, cashing in on the all pervasive misery. These include the local drug dealers, private healthcare providers, touts, agents, medical representatives and many others. These people, waiting in their wings like hawks, ready to pounce upon their preys, strike just when the suffering is at its peak, time is of crucial essence and they make hay while the doctors’ orders shine on the patients’ families. The hospitals can shun them away but choose to turn a blind eye instead. Several forces are to be blamed for the same – fulfilment of vested interests top the list.
At the maternity ward of PGI, a patient, who declined to be named, said there were only two nurses at night duty taking care of 17 women who gave birth at almost the same time.
“Here it is normal for us to be overwhelmed with patients. We are overworked and yet our input is not commensurate to our remuneration from the government,” said a nurse at maternity ward who did not want to be named.While shortage of medical workers and lack of resources continue to haunt these hospitals, the ever increasing patient footfall is also one of the reasons for deteroration of the healthcare. But the need is that healthcare is the ultimate duty of hospitals, and required equipment and man-power should be increased.
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