October 4, 2008

Kick Up a Storm for Treatment

By Sapna Verma

September 30, 12.30pm: Four-year-old Aanus is rushed to the Sushruta Trauma Centre with a head injury after falling from the third floor of his house.

12.50pm: A resident doctor sees him and his parents are told that he has a fractured skull. Aanus is put on a drip and the doctor asks for a CT scan which is done.

1.30pm: The drip has to be removed because the child is writhing in pain.

2.30pm: Traumatised by the sight of his young son in pain without any medication, Aanus's father goes to enquire about the status of the CT scan report. He is told that the report has been despatched 15 minutes earlier.

7.30pm: The family is still waiting for the report. No doctor has checked his status since the resident doctor more than six hours ago.

8pm: A nurse came to check the drip and assured the family of a visit by a senior doctor.

8.15pm: It is only after Aanus's parents kick up a mini storm that a doctor comes to see him and some medicines are prescribed

Speaking to Times City, Aanus's father Chand said: "My son was not treated till afternoon. We kept waiting with my son lying on the bed outside the casualty and wailing in pain but nothing was done. When I asked the nurses they told me that nothing could be done before the CT scan report comes. Couldn't they have at least given some medicines to lessen the pain?"

It is not just Aanus, Sushruta Trauma Centre has abundant such tales of neglect of patients who require emergency attention, which in fact was the mandate when this hospital was created. But shortage of doctors, equipment and the fact that it is saddled with a "mother" institution Lok Nayak which is 5 Km away have meant that this is one of the worst places to be in in case of an emergency.

Parents of 8-year-old Bhavesh Vashist, who came to the hospital late Tuesday evening, learnt this the hard way. "I brought my son who was unconscious after a fall from the stairs at 7.45pm. I kept waiting for more than 20 minutes before a doctor came and checked him, as there was just one doctor present," said Bhavesh's father Suresh. The doctor recommended an X-ray, which took 15 minutes followed by another 45-minute wait for the report. Bhavesh remained unconscious without any intervention.

For the entire evening, there were just two junior resident doctors in the emergency, trying to grapple with patients who kept streaming in. At any point there were four-five patients waiting for the doctor to see them while others waited for test reports.

Medical superintendent Yadu Lal says: "Hundreds of patients come everyday. The waiting of 15 minutes is very normal in government hospitals. Despite trying a lot, there is a rush of patients in the evening which sometimes results in delays." He added that he would "find out" about Aanus's case. Discussing the shortage of staff at the hospital, Lal said: "We have asked the Delhi government for more staff, and some of them have come from LNJP. One senior doctor of each speciality is present in the emergency, rest are junior doctors."

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