Every 30 minutes, a bleeding accident victim is wheeled into Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital’s trauma block in New Delhi. Add to that private vehicles, autos and cabs, and RML ends up getting 400 accident victims a day, making it the busiest hospital for trauma care in Delhi and NCR.
On an average, RML gets more than 1,000 emergency cases daily, including road accidents and cardiac, neuro, burns and other emergencies. “Of our 400 road accident victims, 50 per cent are in a condition serious enough for admission. Each day, 18-20 critical victims of accidents need life-saving surgery,” said Dr Sunil Saxena, in charge of casualty at RML.
The hospital’s trauma block was built keeping in mind the Capital’s need for more trauma care facilities — more than 100 PCR calls for road accidents are made in a day in and around central Delhi alone.
And the city only has two stand-alone trauma centres — the Sushruta Trauma Centre has no neurosurgeons and is almost defunct; the AIIMS Trauma Centre is usually short of beds and ventilators.
The never-ending stream of patients has forced RML’s trauma block to function as an extended emergency unit. “We are in the process of constructing a special block for emergency care. Once it comes up in the next couple of months, it will be utilised purely for accident cases,” said Dr TS Sidhu, medical superintendent at RML.
“We will also have a trauma team comprising one general surgeon, one neurosurgeon and one orthopaedic surgeon,” he added.
HT visited the hospital’s trauma block on Wednesday. Between 10am and 2pm, 52 patients were treated, of which only one — a burns victim who had received first-aid in Gurgaon — was turned away as he did not have the papers needed for admission.
But no emergency case was turned away. “We have an open door policy. Only when there is a ventilator patient and we do not have a ventilator vacant do we get in touch with hospitals within an 8-km radius. There are about 21 private hospitals in our network under the Delhi government’s EWS scheme,” said a senior doctor at RML.
Lacked papers, sent back
Came from Gurgaon
Pramod Kumar, 18, came to Gurgaon from Orissa’s Sambalpur. He has been working there as a labourer for the past two years.
But on Wednesday morning, he was seen writhing in pain inside a cab parked outside RML’s trauma block. His friends had been trying to get him admitted in the hospital for more than three hours, but claimed that the doctors refused to even see him as he did not have documents on him.
“He is in so much pain and they are asking for documents. It’s a curse to be poor in this country,” said Sudhama Kumar, his friend, a driver.
On Monday evening, a cylinder blast had burnt Kumar’s arms and legs. An assistant at a local dispensary dressed his wounds. When his pain did not subside, they thought of bringing him to RML. They finally took him back to Gurgaon. “We will look for some hospital there,” Sudhama said. -- Rhythma Kaul
Still waiting for surgery
Came from Una in Himachal
Hailing from Una district’s Chintpurni town, Sabitri Shekhar was referred to RML by a local doctor. She had suffered three fractures in her left leg and two in her right after she fell from a hillock when the bike she was riding pillion skid.
“She was in so much pain when we brought her here but the doctors took three days to admit her. We were told that she will need at least three surgeries to recover,” said Ram, her husband. “Doctors in our district had said this was a good hospital and everything will be taken care of. But I am paying for all the medicines and tests from my pocket,” he said.
Ram, who tills lands for daily wages, says he has already spent over Rs 12,000 on medicines and tests and yet the operation has not been done. “I am not sure when they will operate on her. Every time I ask, they tell me to wait,” he said.
He now fears that if he isn’t given a date for surgery soon, the Rs 15,000 he had borrowed from relatives for Sabitri’s treatment will dry up. “Who will I ask money from in Delhi? I don’t know anyone,” he lamented. - Jaya Shroff Bhalla