Destitutes galore at Wenlock hospital

167-year-old 705-bedded hospital manages to treat all, despite severe staff shortage

Destitutes galore at Wenlock hospital

“Though I have two sons, they don’t want to take me home... perhaps they don’t like me... as I am aged...,” says Rama, a retired teacher from Kundapur, who has occupied the last bed in the female ward at Government Wenlock Hospital for the last two years.

“I have three children... Rajesh... Pradeep and another is yet to be named... I don’t know when will my husband come to pick me up...,” says Lakshmi, aged between 35 and 40 and claims to be hailing from Utter Pradesh.“I have two sons, both married, but they don’t want to keep me at home... Hence, they admitted me here,” says Saraswathi, aged above 60 years and a resident of Kavoor near Mangalore.

These are only three cases out of several such persons who do not have any serious health problems, but have occupied beds in Government Wenlock Hospital for the last several months or years.

The classic case is that of Rubeena, aged between 35 and 40 years and claims to be from North India, who was admitted at Wenlock Hospital about five years ago. Except for the fact that she has lost her eye sight, she is healthy. In fact, she goes to bathroom all by herself without any help.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, District Medical Officer Dr Rajeshwari Devi said that there are more than 25 to 30 destitutes who have been admitted at the Wenlock hospital and though they are healthy, they are not ready to leave hospital, as they don’t have any place to go. “We keep them on humanitarian grounds,” she said and added that she is not sure what to do with them as the hospital can not forcibly send them.

Besides the destitutes, who are healthy, there are a number of persons who have been admitted, without any caretakers, as the ‘108’ ambulance drivers drop them and go. “The moment someone dies, the media makes a hue and cry, but not many know how much the staff struggle to provide treatment to the patients and under what circumstances the patients were admitted,” Dr Devi rues.

Showing at a person who has suffered fracture in his leg, one of the nurses said that the person, hailing from Assam and a construction labourer, was initially admitted at a private hospital. “As he could not afford to pay the surgery charges, he has been admitted at Wenlock hospital and is waiting for his turn to get his leg operated.”

Staff shortage

Stating that there only 75 ‘D’ group employees out of the sanctioned 286 posts, Dr Rajeshwari Devi said that the staff at the hospital try their best to serve the patients in the 167-year-old 705-bedded hospital.

The condition of the nurses too is no different as each nurse has to manage 50 patients, which is highly challenging. “Similarly, out of the sanctioned 30 surgeons (specialists), there are only 14,” she said.

Interestingly, the hospital has patients from Bidar and Haveri to Kasargod and Kannur in Kerala. Besides, there are a few who hail from North India too, with whom the staff struggle hard to communicate.

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