Union health minister JP Nadda on Sunday left the PGIMER officials on the edge after he made a surprise visit to the Emergency block of the institute.
He was at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) to chair a meeting of the Institute's Body and inaugurate the Robotic Centre and Image Guided Radiation Therapy Facility.
According to sources, a visit to the emergency ward was not part of the minister's schedule, though a visit to the Advanced Trauma Centre adjoining the Emergency was on the cards.
After inaugurating the Robotic Centre and Image Guided Radiation Therapy Facility at Nehru Hospital, Nadda entered the Emergency directly.
Like always, the Emergency was chaotic with long rows of stretchers placed even in the corridors and patients awaiting someone to attend to them.
Earlier the PGIMER's Faculty Association and other unions requested Nadda to visit the Emergency block to see its appalling condition. This left the PGIMER officials, including director YK Chawla, jittery.
Eventually, as Nadda was being hurriedly escorted to the trauma centre through the Emergency block corridors, he stopped in between to speak to patients.
"Are you getting treatment? Are you facing any problem?" he asked the same question to several patients.
However, the discerning PGIMER officials didn't guide him to the real trouble spot of the Emergency, where all new emergency patients arrive.
Instead, they hurriedly tried to escort him to the trauma centre building, which is a new and better-managed area.
The PGIMER's security wing was also given instructions not to allow the media inside as it could lead to an embarrassment.
Earlier in the day, the chaos at Emergency was also raised in the Institute Body meeting by Anandpur Sahib Member of Parliament Prem Singh Chandumajra.
In the past decade several health ministers have visited the institute, but this was the first time that any health minister visited the Emergency block.
The number of emergency patients at the institute has increased manifold in the past two decades.
While the institute got around 18,000 patients in both adult and emergency OPDs in 1990, around 70,000 new patients got registered in the emergency with various problems in 2014.
Radiation Therapy Facility inaugurated
The health minister inaugurated and had a detailed visit of the Robotic Centre and Image Guided Radiation Therapy Facility.
Prof AK Mandal, head, department of urology, explained the working of the Robotic System installed in the Robotic operation theatre.
The minister watched a recorded video of a kidney tumour operated upon with robotic assistance at the PGIMER. In this case, the remaining part of the kidney was saved after removal of the large tumour.
Prof Rakesh Kapoor of department of radiotherapy, PGIMER, and his team explained the minister about the advantages of Image Guided Radiation Therapy Facility.
Under the wraps
To stop the stink from the ill-maintained toilets, the PGIMER administration locked some of the public toilets and also stopped entry of patients and attendants to certain areas where the health minister's visit was scheduled.