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Theatres out of order, operations on hold

Surgeries at four operating theatres (OT) of Calcutta Medical College and Hospital have been stalled since last week because of a leaking roof and broken window panes, sources said on Monday.

The authorities were forced to defer surgeries and turn away patients since the four OTs at the hospital’s Green Building were shut for repairs.

Some in-patients have been asked to take discharge and come back a week later.

“These OTs are undergoing renovation and will be closed for another seven to 10 days. Some window panes are broken and there are other problems too,” said Sikha Banerjee, the medical superintendent of the hospital, which has 12 OTs.

“We couldn’t take up the maintenance work earlier because of the rush of patients,” said Banerjee.

Officials said general, plastic and a few orthopaedic surgeries were being conducted at the OTs closed for renovation.

The Medical Council of India (MCI) had last month scrapped admission to 95 MBBS seats of Calcutta Medical College (CMC) after its inspectors pointed out infrastructure deficiencies and manpower shortage at the hospital.

The institute, like other colleges in Bengal, was finally allowed to admit students in those seats on the condition that the deficiencies would be met within three months.

MCI, the regulatory body for medical colleges in the country, had raised objections to inadequate space in lecture halls, insufficient hostel rooms, small library and other infrastructure issues.

The MCI inspectors had pointed out several other deficiencies at the hospital wards like a post-operative recovery room being used as a cabin.

One of the doctors alleged that the air-conditioning system of the OTs was not functioning properly. “So the optimum temperature could not be maintained for the past few weeks and that led to problems. It can also lead to bacteria infestation in the OTs,” he said.

The roof of one of the OTs is leaking, he pointed out.

However, the authorities denied the allegation and said that the surgeries have been shifted to other OTs in the casualty block.

The closed OTs were booked for surgeries and some of them had to be deferred.

“We are taking up only emergency cases in the other OTs,” said another doctor.

“We had to discharge patients admitted to the hospital for surgeries and ask them to come later,” he said.

Sources said surgeries in the hospital were getting delayed because of the situation. Normally a surgery is conducted between two and four days of admission, depending on the number of investigations a patient has to undergo.

“Now, a patient has to wait for a minimum of five days to get a surgery done,” said an official. “We had to refuse a few patients whose surgeries were planned this week,” he said.