Contrary to expectations that the Bhopal Memorial Hospital & Research Centre (BMHRC) would become better equipped both in terms of manpower and machines following its takeover by the Union government in 2010, the situation has actually gone from bad to worse.
The recent resignations of two more doctors, Gulab Chandra Gautam and Amit Shrivastava, set the alarm bells ringing at one of Bhopal's landmark medical centres. Dr Gautam says in his resignation letter: "In the last nine months the working conditions have deteriorated at a very fast pace… BMHRC (is) struggling with dilapidated equipment, frequent shortage of drugs and disposables and lack of qualified residents."
What the doctor has said about affairs of the hospital in his resignation letter to the director is not far from the truth. Sample this. Following the resignation of assistant professor Dr Amit Shrivatava from the opthalmology department, it's left with just one doctor. Dr Gautam's resignation from cardiology department has left Dr Skand Trivedi alone in the department, which was one of the most prestigious of the hospital drawing hundreds of patients.
The departments of pulmonary medicine and surgery are already closed for the lack of manpower despite the fact that lung infection and respiratory disorder is the most common ailment found among survivors of the gas disaster.
Condition of several other departments of the hospital is no better either. The department of psychiatry is being handled by one doctor alone. The department of onco-surgery is now shut, while the departments of neuro medicine and gastro medicines have been closed for over three years. The departments of gastro surgery and nephrology have one doctor each.
In addition to manpower crisis, the hospital has outdated machines and equipment. The MRI and DSA machine in the radiology department are not working, the heart-lung machine used for artificial respiration has stopped functioning too. In the 11-bed post-operative intensive care unit, four ventilators are out of order and the cath lab of the cardilogy department is not giving proper readings because it has outlived its life.
When HT contacted the director of the hospital, Dr KK Modar, he said: "Doctors who have resigned have done it for career growth and there is nothing unusual about it. As far as other outstanding issues of the hospital, steps are being taken to sort them out. But in a government set-up, such things take time."