JHRC team members interact with patients at MGM Medical College and Hospital on Monday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Ants crawling on a newborn; pregnant women carrying water buckets from the ground floor to the second floor; burns victims left writhing without an AC — horror scenes greeted a Jharkhand Human Rights Council (JHRC) team on a surprise inspection at state-run MGM Medical College and Hospital on Monday.
The local human rights body, which failed to get any favourable reply from the authorities on the abysmal state of healthcare at the Sakchi heal hub, has decided to take up the matter with the health department.
“There is mismanagement everywhere. Patients are languishing while the hospital authorities just could not care less. I will write to the health department, notifying it about whatever we saw here today (Monday),” said JHRC president Manoj Mishra, who was accompanied by team members Riya Banerjee, Anamica Prabhat, Sipra Rajni and Abhijit Chanda.
According to the visitors, they were aghast to find women, in advanced stages of pregnancy, carrying buckets of water from the ground floor to the first and second floors.
“When asked, one of the women, Nasima Begum, said there was no water on the first and second floors. As the latrines are very dirty, they have no option other than to fetch water from a tap on the ground floor,” said Mishra.
“The women also complained that nurses and other support staff at the hospital demand anything between Rs 200 and Rs 500 from them after delivery. We received as many as 15 such complaints,” he added.
The children’s ward had more shockers in store.
“A two-day-old girl, who was found abandoned along NH 33, was on oxygen support at the ward. On a closer look at the baby, we found an army of ants crawling all over her. The nurse started cleaning her up only after we complained,” said the JHRC president.
Their third stop was the burns care unit.
“Though there were four ACs, only one was functioning. Ironically, the doctors’ chamber had its two ACs in operational mode. When we asked the doctors to spare one of the ACs for the burns care unit, we were rebuffed,” Mishra said.
The rights team also met Ashok Kumar Singh, deputy superintendent of the hospital, but it didn’t help much.
Singh, the acting superintendent, made it clear that the 520-bed facility ought to have a permanent superintendent. Unless that happens, nothing can be done. At present, superintendent S.K. Chowdhury holds dual charge of RIMS in Ranchi and MGM hospital.
When Misha & Co. stressed on repairing the pipeline for ensuring water supply to the second floor, Singh said that the drinking water and sanitation department had already been asked to do so.
The deputy superintendent refused to take any further query, saying he was a heart patient.
“Yes, a JHRC team had come to the hospital for inspection. But I am not authorised to answer their queries or those of the media. Unless the hospital gets an independent superintendent, its condition will not improve,” Singh later told The Telegraph.
MGM is doing without a permanent superintendent since S.S. Prasad died of a heart attack last August.