Sanitary worker turns ‘nurse’, administers saline at Madurai's Government Rajaji Hospital

In a shocking incident, a contractual sanitary worker was spotted administering saline to a patient at Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH) on Friday night.

Published: 08th October 2017 03:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th October 2017 06:18 PM   |  A+A-

Worker turns nurse: ​A sanitary worker administering saline to a patient at Madurai's Government Rajaji Hospital. (Express Photo | KK Sundar)

Express News Service

MADURAI: In a shocking incident, a contractual sanitary worker was spotted administering saline to a patient at Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH) on Friday night. It’s a duty to be performed either by a house surgeon or a nurse.

The worker concerned was administering saline to a patient admitted in the Urology Ward (Number 307). More shocking was her revelation that she was working under the instruction of the house surgeon, since there was no nurse in the ward at that time. The patient had undergone surgery a few days ago and was in semi-conscious state. The worker was appointed by Padmavathi Hospitality and Facilities Management Services.

When Express contacted the Dean (in-charge) of GRH, Dr D Maruthupandian, he said he did not have details and added, “The sanitary worker is completely at fault. She should not have administered saline even if the doctor had instructed her, as it was not her duty.”

Medical Council of India (MCI) guidelines say that for every eight patients in the general ward, there should be one nurse. But at GRH, around 60 patients are taken care of by one. One attendant said that Friday night’s was no stray incident, which throws light on a number of issues plaguing the hospital administration. It raises the question that when it is the duty of either the house surgeon or the nurse to administer saline to a patient in the hospital, how could they pass it on to someone who is not trained to handle such jobs.

The GRH, which has a total of 440 nurses (340 permanent and 100 temporary) on its payroll, has been largely understaffed in this aspect, considering that it has about 2,600 beds.

Blaming the administrative inefficiency of the State Health and Family Welfare Department for non-recruitment of nurses for years, C Anand Raj, a Madurai-based health rights activist, said, “An RTI response received a couple of years ago revealed that Madurai tops the list of Government Medical College Hospitals in the State that are facing shortage of nurses. At least 1,200-1,300 nurses are required at GRH which has a daily inflow of about 13,000 patients.”

He added that about 800 nurses should be appointed to tackle the imbalance in the patient-nurse ratio.
A senior nurse, on condition of anonymity, stated that a hospital like GRH should have at least 1,300 nurses. But at present, only 440 are working in three shifts.

She added that seven-hour shifts sometimes get extended to 12 hours due to the shortage of nurses.


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