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Nervous breakdown

delhi Updated: May 19, 2009 00:15 IST
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Require brain surgery urgently? Do yourself a favour and save precious time by not going to Deen Dayal Upadhyay (DDU) Hospital's neurosurgery department.

Since January, the department has conducted just one neurosurgery.

On average, it turns away five patients in need of neurosurgery every day.

The reason: this Delhi government-run hospital's neurosurgery department is hamstrung by inadequate staff and infrastructure.

Although the department has 159 employees on paper, only two—you read that right—actually work with it.

“The entire medical team and support staff have been assigned to other departments,” said a source who did not want to be named, as he’s unauthorised to speak to media.

“The beds meant for neurosurgery are occupied by patients from cardiology, ophthalmology and other departments,” he said.

“Neurosurgeon Dr Subodh Gupta and a senior resident have recently joined the DDU Trauma Centre but have no one to work with.”

Dr Gupta refused to comment, saying it was an internal hospital matter.

DDU’s is not an isolated case. There is an acute shortage of neurosurgeons in Delhi government's peripheral hospitals.

Apart from super-specialty hospitals like GB Pant and Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS), the rest have not more than five neurosurgeons at their disposal.

As a result, they end up referring cases to hospitals like All India Institute of Medical Sciences and Safdarjang.

Medical Superintendent Dr Narendra Singh, however, claimed the hospital had one neurosurgeon with five senior residents working under him. “They have conducted three operations in the department,”said Singh.

The hospital also lacks a general out-patient department (OPD) for neurology, where patients may be examined and referred for surgery.

“We don't have an OPD yet. The trauma block is for surgical casualty and I am trying to provide the means for running a proper neurosurgery department in the hospital,” he said.

However, doctors alleged several procurements had been made for the neurosurgery department.

"The neurosurgeon has been asked to take care of the referral cases within the hospital, but even a month after his appointment, not many doctors are aware of his presence," said a senior doctor.