Shah Rukh Khan fell from the roof of his Farrukhabad home in Uttar Pradesh and broke his leg. That was in September. By the end of October, undergoing treatment at the government-run Lok Nayak Hospital in Central Delhi, the eight-year-old boy’s name was drawing more attention than his wounded leg.
The namesake of one of India’s biggest cine stars and son of a rickshaw puller, Shah Rukh Khan did not even have a bed for himself at the hospital.
After the first round of treatment, Khan was asked to vacate the bed in the orthopaedic ward to make room for the next patient.
Sprawled on the cold corridor of the main hospital building, the little boy cried. “He is in a lot of pain even though the doctors plastered his leg after stitching the wounds,” said his father Abrahim, 39, who earns Rs 35-40 a day pulling a rickshaw.
“The doctors will open the bandage and also cut his stitches two days later. We can still fight the cold. I only hope my son does not catch fever,” he told HT on October 23.
Located close to Delhi Gate and both Old and New Delhi railway stations, almost 6,000 patients visit the hospital every day. This does not include the 1,200 patients admitted in the wards.
The hospital, however, is designed to treat only 1,000 OPD patients and 320 admitted patients on a daily basis.
“Neither the infrastructure nor the bed strength was planned to cater to the existing workload,” said Dr Amit Banerjee, medical superintendent, Lok Nayak Hospital.
“We receive patients not only from the entire old Delhi area but also from neighbouring states.” With a doctor-patient ratio of 1: 40 — one doctor for every 40 patients — bed shortages and an overcrowded waiting area are an everyday reality at the hospital.
That Lok Nayak Hospital also shares its sole waiting room with G. B. Pant hospital — which in turn has a daily patient footfall off over 3,000 — makes matters worse.
“We are examining the option of creating new waiting areas to solve the problem of overcrowding,” Dr Banerjee said.