Boss is only change at BIN - Patients still turned away, two-month wait for an MRI

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By SANJAY MANDAL
  • Published 7.06.11
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The only change that has come about at the Bangur Institute of Neurosciences (BIN) since Mamata Banerjee’s surprise inspection and sudden decision to suspend its director is the man at the helm.

Patients are still refused admission in defiance of the chief minister’s directive and officials continue to misbehave with attendants and relatives of those who come for treatment, sources at the hospital said.

Former director S.K. Ghorai was suspended on charges of insubordination and non-cooperation after he allegedly failed to give Mamata the answers she would have liked to hear during an unscheduled visit on May 26. Pradip Mitra, the director of the Institute of Post Graduate Medicine and Research that includes SSKM, is Ghorai’s replacement.

Metro, which had highlighted the eyesores that Mamata missed when she left the institute in a huff 12 days ago, found the premises just as patient-unfriendly during a repeat visit on Monday.

The waiting list for MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) at the super-speciality neurology institute looked just as long and several critically ill patients were denied admission through the day.

One of them was Sagar Mondal, 29, who suffered a spine fracture after falling off a cellphone tower where he was working a few days ago. Sagar, a resident of Rajpur in South 24-Parganas, was brought to the institute around 10.30am.

“This place does not have an enquiry counter where someone can provide us information about where to take a patient for admission,” complained a family member accompanying Sagar.

The youth’s family looked around for a wheelchair or a stretcher to take him from one department to another, but there was none. Four persons lifted him by his hands and feet to ferry him from one part of the hospital to another.

“We didn’t know that this hospital doesn’t have an emergency ward. A doctor examined Sagar after a four-hour wait and said there was no bed,” a relative said.

The doctor prescribed an MRI, which the radiology department said couldn’t be done till August because there was no slot.

Lal Mohan De, a 61-year-old from Serampore in Hooghly, spent Rs 11,000 on an MRI in a private diagnostic centre because he would had to wait more than a month to get one done at the neurosciences institute.

De, who needs spinal cord surgery, has been unable to walk without assistance for six months. “The doctors say I need surgery but haven’t been able to give me a hospital bed,” he said.

On Monday, De walked a few hundred yards from the main entrance till the outpatient department (OPD) with a friend and a relative propping him up on either side. “There is not a wheelchair in sight. It is strange that they won’t open the gate for a car or an ambulance to come in,” he said.

The only time the iron chain on the gate is removed for the flaps to open is when a doctor’s car honks.

Azizul Malita, a 55-year-old farmer from Nadia, was lying on the ground in front of the OPD. The right side of his body is paralysed. “We came here last Monday but there was no vacant bed. Today, it’s the same,” wife Saheda Begum said.

Malita was taken to RG Kar Medical College and Hospital for a CT scan and an MRI.

An official of the neurosciences institute blamed the 11-year-old MRI machine for patients being forced to go elsewhere. “The machine is so slow that it takes one hour on an average to scan each patient,” he said.

According to radiologists, an MRI unit should not take more than 20 minutes to do a scan.

New director Mitra promised several steps to solve the problem of patients not finding beds at the hospital. “All 128 beds are full at present. I have drawn up a plan to build a new structure to link the two blocks. Four floors will be built, adding 28 beds and a few cabins,” he said.

A new MRI machine won’t be installed immediately, but Mitra said he would improve basic facilities “in a couple of days”.