Kerala: Blasts, stampede expose shortcomings of Ernakulam Medical College Hospital

In both incidents, patients brought to the MCH with severe injuries had to be moved to private multi-speciality hospitals nearby
The super speciality block under construction at Government Medical College Hospital, Kalamassery (File picture)
The super speciality block under construction at Government Medical College Hospital, Kalamassery (File picture)

KOCHI: The recent blasts at a convention centre in Kalamassery and the stampede at the Cochin University of Science and Technology have thrown light on the severe lack of facilities at Kalamassery Government Medical College Hospital (MCH). 

In both the incidents, patients brought to the MCH with severe injuries had to be moved to private multi-speciality hospitals nearby, and the team of expert doctors was brought from Thrissur and Kottayam MCHs.

According to those in the know, the incidents highlighted the importance of completing the construction of a super speciality block at the MCH, upgrade its facilities, and employing more staff. In terms of development, the MCH, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, has a long way to go, said Dr Sanil Kumar, a volunteer with the Justice Krishna Iyer movement. 

“Victims in both the cases were moved to private hospitals, and doctors from MCHs in Thrissur and Kottayam were mobilised. The hospital’s facilities need to be improved to save lives in emergencies like these,” he said. 

Construction work of the super speciality block, which was expected to be opened to the public in November, is progressing. “The work was supposed to be over by November, but it didn’t. Now, it is estimated to be completed by the start of 2024,” said an official with the MCH. 

The long process of importing machinery and devices has caused the delay. “Meetings with officials and representatives are held regularly to evaluate the progress of the construction work,” he said. As the construction work completes, more posts should be created. “Staff appointment has to be addressed. Specialists in neurosurgery, cardiothoracic surgery, plastic surgery, urology, gastro surgery, and paediatric surgery are not available at the MCH. Two of the three cardiologists here have been assigned Sabarimala duty,” he said.

The MCH also requires a Critical Care Unit (CCU). Though the Centre allocated a budget of Rs 23.75 crore for building the CCU at MCH under the National Health Mission in June 2022, the project is still on hold. Dr Sanil said Ernakulam, being the commercial capital, needs to have a public sector hospital with better facilities. 

The Justice Krishna Iyer movement recently demanded the state government to immediately constitute a task force to address the inadequacies at the institution. With the completion of the new block, the officials hope to overcome several shortfalls.

Crippling inadequacies

1 Construction of the super speciality block, which was expected to be opened to the public in November, is now estimated to be completed by the start of 2024

2 Specialists in neurosurgery, cardiothoracic surgery, plastic surgery, urology, gastro surgery, and paediatric surgery are not available at the MCH

3 Though the Centre allocated a budget of D23.75 crore for building the CCU at MCH under the National Health Mission in June 2022, the project is still on hold

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