One of the ACs at the burns unit of RIMS (left), Ranchi, which fails miserably in temperature control. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Doctors will have their own OPD chambers. They will maintain their own patient register. The psychiatry ward will be detached from the medicine ward. Additional manpower is already keeping the autopsy area clean. And the issue of blood bank permit is being followed up with the regional licensing authority.
Above is the list of changes already visible or on the cards at Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), courtesy the May 15 surprise inspection by the Medical Council of India (MCI) that laid bare the state-run hospital’s multiple wounds.
Caught on the wrong foot by the apex council, the RIMS management have seemingly swung into action to ensure that another similar scrutiny doesn’t shock the MCI. However, reality is that the hospital’s wounds are far too festering than met the probing eyes.
For instance, temperature control, which is mandatory at the burns ward, is missing because the four air-conditioners often malfunction.
“Kabhi kabhi thanda karta hai, kabhi kabhi nahi. Yahan isse jyada thanda hona chahiye. (At times the ACs work; at times they don’t. The temperature must be much lower than this in a burns ward),” admitted a nurse, requesting anonymity.
Poor patients and their relatives don’t even realise what is necessary and what they are being denied.
“Mujhe toh bas itna samajh aa raha hai ki thandak sardi mausam jitna hona chahiye. Utna toh nahi hai. (I think the temperature should be as low as it is in winter. But, that is not the case here),” said the sister of a patient with 90 per cent burns. She added that the RIMS authorities had pulled her up for talking to reporters earlier when the patient’s six-month-old foetus died allegedly due to medical negligence.
Like the barely functioning ACs in the burns ward, the four elevators at RIMS are also trouble for patients. While one lift, near the director’s chamber, is meant exclusively for doctors, the two near the OT and another a little distance away that patients and relatives can use work in fits and starts. Deplorably, doctors themselves often make ward boys carry patients on stretchers through the ramp.
At the neonatal unit, there is no arrangement for mothers of infants to stay.
Savitri Devi, who recently had a premature baby, said she sleeps on a chatai (mat) in the corridor at night. And, she is not alone. Mothers of all premature or ailing infants grapple with similar hardships because they are expected to stay in the hospital for breast-feeding eight to 10 times a day.
Asked about his plans to improve the situation, RIMS director Tulsi Mahto cited overcrowding as the reason behind the lapses. “Look, we have a capacity of 1,089. But, on any given day, there are 1,250 in-house patients. With the available manpower and given the bed occupancy and burden on OPD, it is really very difficult to maintain an ideal status,” he said.
Mahto, however, promised that certain recommendations of the MCI such as treating patients in separate chambers, maintaining registers and getting blood bank licence would be worked out within a month.
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