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Hospital or madhouse?

Chronic illness - poor infrastructure, staff sloth, red tape and doctors pleading helplessness — welcome to Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital, reports Rhythma Kaul.

delhi Updated: Nov 05, 2009 00:02 IST
Rhythma Kaul

A comedy of errors can be painful for someone with a fractured foot, especially when the show unfolds at a government hospital in Delhi.

Ashok Nagar-resident Suman Singh (32) fractured her right ankle and was asked to get an X-ray done to determine whether the cast could be removed.

The 32-year-old went to Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, the largest Delhi government-run hospital in the trans-Yamuna area in East Delhi, along with her husband. And the ordeal began.

When she went to the X-ray room, the technician prepared to X-ray her right knee. “But I need an X-ray of my ankle,” she told him.

“I can’t do it. I’ll X-ray your knee because the slip says so,” he said and went ahead.

She had struggled to get herself registered at the outpatient department (OPD) counter after hobbling around the hospital for five hours for a registration slip.

She could hardly put up a fight with the X-ray technician.

“It was bizarre. I showed him my plastered ankle and told him that the man at the counter had made a mistake, but he refused to listen. I will do as written, he said.”

So, her knee was X-rayed and not the ankle.

When the Singhs took the wrong X-ray report and complained to the doctor, he gave them an earful and sent them back for another X-ray, that could only be done the next day.

“So we are back in queue for another X-ray, wasting an entire day again. She is in pain, it’s not easy for her to move around, but no one seems to care,” said Suman’s husband, Saheb Singh, a cloth merchant.

“It was the worst decision of my life. I spent two days here and the cast is yet to be removed. OPD timings are almost over, so I’ll have to come back tomorrow,” said Singh.

Apart from mix-ups, delays also happen because many people jump the queue, making the waiting time endless for others.

“Just take a look behind the counter and you’ll find many people jumping the queue. Because of some corrupt people, the rest have to suffer,” said Ranbiri Devi (28), a resident of Loni, who was standing in the OPD registration queue with her husband since 7 am.