| Patients and attendants outside the paediatric wing. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh |
The paediatric surgery wing of Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) is being run by doctors who are not eligible for it.
Such a wing needs to have doctors with super-speciality degree in paediatric surgery (master of chirurgical, a degree in paediatric surgery). However, since 1954 when it was started it is running with surgeons of the general surgery department.
J.P. Gupta, in-charge of paediatrics surgery department, admitted that the wing was running without the “eligible doctors”.
“Bihar does not have doctors who have MCh degree in paediatric surgery. This is the reason that our department does not have a single doctor with MCh degree. I also don’t have this super-speciality degree but I am running the department on the basis of my experience,” claimed Gupta.
Sources said the paediatrics surgery wing is already facing many types of problems. Recently, a question was asked in the ongoing Assembly session in which it was claimed that the paediatrics surgery wing had become virtually closed. Health minister Ramdhani Singh, while answering to the query, however, claimed that in the last one year, 24 major and 47 minor surgeries had been conducted in the paediatrics surgery wing.
The PMCH sources, however, claimed that the paediatrics surgery wing was not being meted out with proper treatment. A source said: “Most of the equipment, which doctors of the paediatric surgery wing are using, have become old, including toothed forceps (an instrument used to hold tissues during surgery), artery forceps (surgical instrument used to close arteries to prevent haemorrhage), needle holder (used in stitching work during surgeries) among others. Of the five ventilators available with the department, only two are working. Most of the times, lifesaving drugs, including adrenaline, deriphyllin, heparin and lasix, are out of stock. Relatives of patients are asked to buy these drugs from market so that life can be saved. While adrenaline injection is used in heart-related problems, deriphyllin is administered when there is troubled breathing, asthma or bronchitis problem. Heparin injection is given to prevent blood clot and lasix is administered to help the patient get rid of extra water.”
Gupta claimed he had asked the hospital administration for the drugs but nothing concrete has been done yet.
Hospital superintendent Lakhendra Prasad said: “We provide Rs 30,000 to each head of the department. They can purchase the necessary medicines and equipment with this fund. The HODs can ask for funds again after 15 days of spending this money. The hospital administration would ask Bihar Medical Services and Infrastructure Corporation Limited (the wing of health department to purchase drugs and equipment) to take proper action regarding this.”
Lack of instrument and life-saving drugs is not the only problem which the paediatrics surgery wing is facing. It is also grappling with lack of manpower. The wing, at present, has only two doctors, including one professor and one senior resident. Gupta, the only professor, who also happens to be the in-charge of the wing, is set to retire on July 31. “I am going to retire on July 31 but I would be working for another three years at the hospital on contract basis. The paediatric surgery wing has manpower problem. This is the reason I have been asked to work on contract,” said Gupta.
He added that the senior resident, assigned duty in the paediatrics surgery wing, also has to provide his services in the general surgery wing because of which operations for children are affected.