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4 pm surgery deadline at children’s hospital

delhi Updated: Apr 30, 2010 23:39 IST
Jaya Shroff Bhalla
Jaya Shroff Bhalla
Hindustan Times
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Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya (CNBC) in Geeta Colony, the only government hospital to be certified by National Accreditation Board for Hospitals (NABH) for quality healthcare, allegedly does not admit patients for surgery after 4 pm.

Even the most sick child, who requires emergency procedures, is referred to Lok Nayak or other Delhi government hospitals. Gajendri Devi’s (45) four-and-half-month-old critically ill granddaughter Sheetal was turned away from the hospital on Sunday afternoon.

Running high temperature herself, Devi had travelled 76 kilometres from Bulandshahr on Sunday with her husband.

“The doctor on duty said the baby was seriously ill and needed immediate surgery but refused to treat her because it was a Sunday and surgeons were on leave,” she said.

A doctor from Lok Nayak hospital said, “We get a dozen critically ill patients over the week and 3-4 on the weekend from CNBC, forcing us to keep our operation theatres operational until the wee hours.” The doctor was unwilling to be quoted, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

“They pride themselves in being NABH accredited. What good is a quality seal when they don’t even admit emergency cases?” he said.

Devi said, “After initial diagnosis, they referred us to Lok Nayak Hospital. My husband was accompanying me or else I wouldn’t have known what to do.” The family reached Lok Nayak at 10 pm.

“The baby was suffering from intestinal obstructions. A part of her intestine had to be removed urgently,” said a paediatric surgeon, who operated upon the infant at 11.30 the same night.

Dr Amit Banerjee, MS at Lok Nayak, said, “On many occasions I have come across sick patients who have been referred to us at odd hours.”

He said the hospital received 3-4 referrals last weekend alone.

“We have written to the health department about this continued referral process. Not only does it increase the work load on our resident doctors, it also hampers our teaching programme, as these residents can’t find enough time to study,” said a senior doctor from paediatric surgery.

Fourteen-month-old Mayank Negi was also referred to Lok Nayak with a protruding hernia. “We were told that the baby’s condition could worsen if he isn’t operated upon the same day,” said Nandan Singh Negi (27), the boy’s father.

Since we had fed the baby at noon and the surgery required the baby to be empty stomach, which couldn’t happen by 4 pm., the doctors at Chacha Nehru referred us to Lok Nayak, where they operated upon him at 10 p.m.”

Dr KK Kalra, medical superintendent at CNBC refuted the claims.

“This is not true as we run all our emergencies till 8 pm. We have a written policy that we cannot run our emergency 24X7 till all our vacancies are filled. Over the past few months we are facing a staff crunch,” said Kalra.

Health Minister Kiran Walia said, “We have received complaints from Lok Nayak and have discussed the matter with Chacha Nehru. It is an on-going problem and it should be sorted out at the earliest.”