Metro work turns Vanivilas hell for mothers, children

Last Updated 26 October 2013, 19:52 IST

To see a woman in labour pain. A child with severe illness. A just born. A weak mother who has just delivered a child, all sleeping on the floor on the corridors of one of City’s old government hospitals could wrench the strongest of hearts.

Metro work is only adding to the woes of children who come for treatment at Vanivilas Hospital. A major portion (nearly 3/4 the area), that was earlier a  paediatric ward, has been marked by metro officials as an unsafe place after the building developed cracks.
Hence, children who have now been admitted are attended to in the corridors of the building as there are no adequate beds. While mothers who have just delivered are given beds to sleep on, those who come with ailing children are asked to find some place for themselves on the crowded floor.

The paediatric department has three units, one each for severe cases, those who have just settled and those who have recovered considerably. Earlier, these units were given 30 beds each that were just sufficient to meet the demands. However, after metro construction began, each unit has hardly eight beds, sources said.

To meet the demand, patients are currently accommodated in the diarrhoea and thalassemia ward. For a hospital that on an average has at least 150 to 300 outpatients and 15 to 20 admissions each day, occupying these wards hardly makes any difference. “Since June 11, this is the condition of the department. There is hardly any space to put up beds, let alone giving them special care,” the source to Deccan Herald.

While in any ideal condition a woman is supposed to receive best possible care post delivery, at this government hospital all that they are blessed with is a bed in the open corridor with hardly any walking space left for the family members. “We are here since I delivered the child. We were told that this was the only arrangement that could be made,” said Maju (name changed) as her two-year-old son sleeps under the bed without a pillow.

Angathamma, who is seen in one of the corners with her five-month-old great grandchild, expressed grief that since there was no place for the infant to be accommodated beside the mother who had to undergone hysterectomy, they were waiting outside. “Only when they let us in, the mother feeds the child. I manage him all alone otherwise,” she added, “This has been the case since five days.” Every inch of space, be it in the corridor or the ward is occupied. In a season known for infections and diseases, people with children not aged more than a year were seen lying down right beside the pile of garbage that had both sanitary, medical waste and leftover food. However, BMRCL Managing Director Pradeep Singh Karola said they had already made arrangements, helped in shifting the necessary equipment and also assisted the hospital in accommodating patients in various other wards.

Rampant extortion

When this reporter did a reality check, sweepers at the hospital were found extorting money from the father of a newborn. When asked about the transaction, the father said they demanded money from all other people in the ward stating that they had helped the mother after giving birth. “It is not just this, if those in the corridors do not give extra money, the just born is handed over even without cleaning it,” explained Ranganath, an eye-witness. 

However, he also said the nurses had their share of comfort and remained unaffected by all this. “At night they go and sleep on the beds inside the wards that are meant for pregnant women.”

(Published 26 October 2013, 19:52 IST)

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