Learning from mistakes does not seem to be the state health administration’s forte. After sending Sushmita Biswas to an avoidable death, and “suitably punishing” the “offenders” by transfers, SSKM Hospital is refusing to mend a woman’s broken leg, before which she cannot receive the radiation needed to cure her of a tumour in her brain.
The hospital started her radiotherapy course a few weeks ago. But the broken leg, which happened mid-way through the course, means she cannot resume radiotherapy, say doctors. However, the hospital does not seem to be in a hurry to do so, say members of the woman’s family, and is using the oft-repeated excuse of “no space” to deny her treatment.
Afroza Khatoon, a housewife from Dilkhusha Street, near Park Circus, was detected with a tumour in her brain a few months ago. She started going to the SSKM radiotherapy department, where she was told she would need 20 sessions to get rid of the tumour.
But, as luck would have it, she broke her left leg after her 15th session, in a mishap on October 8. A surgery followed at a private nursing home in central Calcutta, but it was not enough to put the broken bones back together. Ever since, Afroza’s family has been running to and from the hospital, with the injured woman in tow, trying to get her a bed.
“Every day, I come here with my wife and I am referred to another department,” Afroza’s husband, Mohammad Yasin, told Metro on Friday. “When I take her to the orthopaedic department, I am referred to the emergency wing, and vice versa,” he added, explaining how his wife was being put through a test she was now finding beyond her.
On Friday, she had to wait for three hours to be told that she would have to go back home. “Bahut dard ho raha hai, hum sahe nahin saakte (The pain is too much for me to bear),” she said, while being carried home after another unsuccessful attempt at getting treatment at SSKM Hospital.
For Yasin, who runs a small tea-stall near Park Circus, the daily rides in a taxi are proving to be equally unbearable. “It is difficult to afford it every day,” he said. But his wife’s health is what worries him the most.
The hospital authorities admitted that there was an acute space problem. “Our wards are overcrowded and some of them have double the capacity they can handle,” superintendent Santanu Tripathi said, after taking charge on Friday.