“No Drugs, No Tests”: Ground Report From Maharashtra Hospital Where 31 Died In 48 Hours

The families have been procuring medicines from outside the hospital

New Delhi:

Outside the hospital in Maharashtra’s Nanded where 31 patients, including 16 newborns, have died in 48 hours, families recount horrific details of neglect by the nursing staff.

The father of a two-year-old with a chronic heart problem has been moping the floor under his daughter’s hospital bed. He narrated details of an allegedly irresponsible hospital staff and the shortage of medicines.

“My two-year-old daughter is here for nearly a week now,” he told NDTV. She is suffering from a cardiac condition that requires a surgery. However, the girl is also suffering from pneumonia and the family came to this hospital to get her treated before they can go to Mumbai for the surgery.

“We were headed for Mumbai but they asked us to treat the pneumonia first. So, we came here,” he said.

At this hospital, their agony only compounded. “Nurses make us wait if we ask them to turn off the intravenous fluids. Sometimes, we have to do it ourselves. The nurses sit outside and are on their phones. They get angry if we ask them twice,” he said.

“Once as I tried to insert the intravenous tube, a little amount of blood oozed out. Even then I could not get the nurses to help,” the hapless father recounted.

“They tell us when medicines are over and ask us to get it from outside the hospital,” he said.

The families are not just procuring medicines from outside, they are also cleaning the area around the hospital beds of their patients.

“The cleaning staff ask us to clean under the beds and I have been doing that for the past two days,” he said.

Sanitation is one of the many problems plaguing this hospital. “The bathrooms here are dirty. Stale food is dumped there. There are machines in the hospital but they don’t work. Patients are sent outside for tests, including MRIs and CT Scans,” said a patient’s relative.

Thirty-one patients died at the state-run Shankarrao Chavan Government Hospital in Maharashtra’s Nanded that made national headlines on Monday following 24 deaths in 24 hours. Among these 31 patients, 16 were infants or children.

The condition of as many as 71 patients at the hospital is still critical.

Allegations of shortage of staff and medicines have been levelled against the hospital whose dean, on Monday, said procurement did not happen as scheduled from the Haffkine Institute from where all government hospitals in the state buy their medicines.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said his government has taken the deaths at a hospital in Nanded very seriously, and appropriate action will be taken after a detailed inquiry. He denied that there were shortages of medicines and staff.

“The deaths are unfortunate. We have taken the incident very seriously. An inquiry has been ordered and action will be taken appropriately,” the chief minister said.

The Opposition in Maharashtra launched an all-out attack on the Eknath Shinde government in the state on Monday, saying the “triple-engine sarkar (of the BJP, Eknath Shinde Sena and the Ajit Pawar faction of NCP) should take responsibility”.

This comes less than two months after 18 patients died in 24 hours in August at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Hospital in Kalwa in Thane. Twelve of them were above the age of 50.

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