Patients still shuttle between hosptials

Patients still shuttle between hosptials

Most patients have turned up at the overcrowded medicine emergency ward of the Centre-run RML Hospital after trying other hospitals. While some “sarkari” hospital doctors did not attend to them, the medical tests at private hospitals were too “expensive”.

Kanta, whose sister Sheila is suffering from dengue, has already knocked two hospitals before reaching this hospital. Here, her sister is sharing bed with two other patients.

“But at least the doctors promptly put her on IV fluids. At Safdarjung Hospital, the situation was worse,” says Kanta, a resident of Shanti Colony in Mandi Pahari.
Her sister Sheila mumbles she did not get relief during the one day she was admitted there. “Then we went to a private hospital but we could not have afforded the treatment there.”

On Wednesday, RML hospital saw 53 fresh cases of dengue. The emergency was swarming with fever patients besides patients suffering from other ailments. The staff shortage was evident as a limited number of nurses and doctors shuttled between patients on stretchers and beds.

The hospital has seen two deaths till now with a 27-year-old woman from Kapashera succumbing to dengue shock syndrome last week.  Over 30 per cent of the patients coming in for treatment are in critical condition, says a doctor posted at the emergency.
“Dengue patients can be treated if they come on time. The medicine emergency alone is seeing over 500 fever cases. It is difficult for a few doctors to man such a huge crowd,” said the doctor.

Pooja, a resident of north Delhi, first went to a private clinic before deciding to come to RML on Wednesday morning. “The dengue test and the platelet test together cost me Rs 1,200. After it came as confirmed dengue, I realised I cannot afford the treatment at the private clinic.” Pooja has currently been kept under observation here. She adds she has no problem sharing bed with two patients and their two attendants. “At least, I do not have to pay for it.”

Some patients’ relatives claim things improved after TV reports showed the apathy towards poor patients here. “Today morning they cleaned the floors and switched on the air-conditioners. It was getting difficult with the rooms being so congested. There is no place to move between beds,” says  the mother of Amit admitted for dengue treatment.
Amit’s sister recounts they first went to GTB Hospital which they left “disappointed”.

Anita, the mother of an 18-year-old boy, shared a similar story of shuttling between hospitals. The dengue wards 5 and 8 were relatively decongested with even some beds lying unused.

“The dengue wards are relatively better managed. I was in the medicine emergency for two days and it was a mad rush,” says Pramod, a resident of Dwarka. Dr V K Sinha, RML spokesperson, said patients are shifted from the medicine emergency to the dengue wards after being kept for observation for some time.

“The situation will improve once we get extra nursing staff. In a meeting with hospital officials, the Union Health Ministry has promised to sanction more nurses on contract basis,” said Dr Sinha.

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