Victoria, Bowring defer elective surgeries due to nurses' strike

Victoria, Bowring defer elective surgeries due to nurses' strike

With work getting affected at the major government hospitals in the City, Victoria, Vanivilas, Minto, and Bowring and Lady Curzon, following the strike by contract nurses since January, nurses working under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) have been deputed to the short-staffed hospitals.

The shortage of nurses has forced Victoria Hospital to close down certain departments and use the services of Post-Certificate BSc nursing students from the nursing college.
It has deferred elective surgeries and is catering only to emergency needs. Victoria Hospital caters to over 1,000 out-patients and records over 100 new admissions every day day.  As many as 12 operations theatres function round the clock.

Due to shortage of staff nurses, Bowring Hospital has been operating only one operation theatre attending to over 20 labour cases every day.  Therefore, to cater to the patients’ needs, Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI) has directed Dr Shankarappa, medical superintendent of PMSSY which functions from Victoria Hospital premises, to depute over 50 nurses to different government hospitals facing manpower crisis. PMSSY had recently recruited over 150 nurses. 

Dr G Gurushankar, Medical Superintendent, Victoria Hospital said that they are utilising the services of 15 nurses from PMSSY and another 39 nursing students doing their Post-Certificate BSc courses.

“All the departments are working, but the existing nurses are burdened with additional work. To ease the work load, nurses have been diverted to other hospitals,” he added.  
Vanivilas Hospital too is attending to only emergency cases and is deferring all elective surgeries.  The hospital caters mainly to labour cases and more than 1,000 deliveries are being carried out in a day. 

Legal hurdles

The 450-odd nurses on contract, who at present are on an indefinite protest on the BMCRI campus, have been requesting the director to issue orders to rejoin service, but since there have been writ petitions filed in the High Court, BMCRI has not yet taken a decision. Issuing of orders will also depend on the BMCRI’s governing council’s decision.

 Among the striking nurses, 123 work in Bowring, 140 in Victoria, 128 in Vanivilas and 14 in Minto Hospital. The manpower crisis at the hospitals was highlighted when 25-year-old Nazeema and her baby died at Bowring Hospital on Friday after the hospital staff delayed performing surgery the patient.

With only one operation theatre working, Nazeema had to wait as the OT was preoccupied. Due to the delay, Nazeema’s baby died of meconium aspiration syndrome (the baby had consume its first stool).  Nazeema subsequently died of amniotic fluid embolism, a complication where the mother develops cardiorespiratory complication and succumbs.  Doctors at Bowring Hospital, however, ruled out any medical negligence in treating Nazeema post the foetal death.

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