HYDERABAD: When earlier this month a 12-year-old boy died of a blunt force trauma in Niloufer hospital, the parents had alleged medical negligence claiming that there was a shortage of doctors and staff, which the hospital administration refuted vehemently.
However, a ground report by Express highlights several areas of the hospital with gnawing irregularities ranging from shortage of nurses to malfunctioning equipment, crumbling infrastructure and bribery, contributing to high mortality rate.
One of the major issues plaguing the hospital is shortage of nursing staff with each overworked nurse catering to more that 6 patients at a time.
Niloufer Hospital superintendent Dr. Murali Krishna says: “The hospital requires 300 nurses at least. We have around 90 currently. We have been told that though nurses have been recruited, but due to pending court cases they have not been posted here yet.”
Niloufer Hospital sees a footfall of around 1,200-1,500 patients every day in the outpatient department (OPD). With the rainy season approaching fast OPD patients go up almost to 1,800 a day.
It doesn’t end there. On entering the pediatric wards in the old building, which is in a shambles, one experiences by an unbearable stench of urine along the staircases and corridors. The wards have around 7 to 8 beds scattered along the walls. The babies, with IV drips, sleep on the bed whereas the family members have to adjust themselves on the floor.
In one of the wards, a group of family members point to a locked bathroom and rue, “There is no water. The bathrooms in every ward are locked. We have to step out of the building every time we need to relieve ourselves. Of the four fans in every ward only two work. We take our children off the bed and sleep on the floor, on the side of the room where the fans work.”
Several attendants of the patients walk to the public toilets, which are 100 metres away from the hospital, where they are charged anywhere between Rs 5 to Rs 30.
Walking into the newer building, one can see the stark difference in terms of infrastructure, with much cleaner surroundings. But step into a ward, and the hapless doctors run from one patient to another, as a ward that is supposed to have three nurses have none.
Bribery is another menace that patients have to deal with. Security guards ask for bribes every time a family member wants to enter a ward.
While the administration claims to have ousted four personnel in the last two months after receiving complaints, the illegal practice still thrives.