Two powerful machines symbolize the spirit of transformation that has gripped Govind Ballabh Pant hospital in the last three years.
A machine that shows on screen the processes of the human brain — and an enormous, automatic roti maker.
G.B. Pant hospital, Daryaganj — established in 1964 — is stepping out of its tattered past, one foot at a time.
Not too long ago, admitted patients had to sometimes sleep in corridors lined with piles of unwashed, bloodstained linen.
Hygiene is such a priority today that the rotis admitted patients get for meals are made by a completely automated ‘no-human-touch’ process.
And the new neurology unit — where the brainmapper is housed — is the only in Delhi, apart from AIIMS, to surgically treat epilepsy.
The change has descended on G.B. Pant, from clinic to kitchen.
The gleaming new neurosurgery unit — on the first and second floors of the main building — seems to exist in a parallel world to the rest of the hospital.
But the parts left behind are on the edge of reinvention too.
“It'll take just four months for the entire hospital to look better,” says Dr Ajay Sharma (58), head of department of neurosurgery at GBPH.
If the example of the neurosurgery department is anything to go by, the makeover is not far behind.
In the last three years, the number of operation theatres (OTs) in the department has doubled to six and the unit has developed an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with a capacity of 33 beds.
“We only had one post-operation 10-bedded high dependency ward and no ICU beds,” says Dr Sharma.
“The results are showing. The deaths are much fewer and surgery outcomes much better," says Dr Rahul Gupta (36), assistant professor, department of neuro-surgery, GBPH.
“You can actually see the working of the brain on the human screen,” says Anu Chaudhary, with childlike wonder.
A government employee's daughter, Chaudhary (20) has been suffering from epilepsy for the last four years and is undergoing treatment at GBPH's epilepsy clinic under Dr Vinod Puri, (56) senior neurologist.
“I am being looked after by one and all in this hospital,” she says, sitting on her bed, her brain connected by wires to the video encephalogram (EEG).
Dr Puri, who has worked at GB Pant for 29 years, echoes what doctors from many transformed government hospitals have been saying all along. That lack of resources has never been the problem. “A pro-active leader was needed to get things going,” says Dr Puri. “We always had the expertise.”
The heart of the matter
If the hospital's brain is now in place, the heart is not far behind.
“The cardiology centre has undergone a dramatic facelift in the last two years,” says Dr Sanjay Tyagi (53), head of the department of cardiology, which treats 1.5 lakh patients each year.
The department has acquired two cath labs recently. Sitting in his office, Dr. Tyagi can monitor both cath labs, where procedures such as fitting pacemakers and removing blockages are performed on a CCTV.
“These are also connected to the main system, which is in the director's office,” he says, pride clear on his face.
“How much better can one ensure accountability?”