Surinder Vaid (62) was admitted to Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital on October 20 for a minor intestinal surgery.
Today, he is battling for life in the trauma ICU of the same hospital.
His blood pressure plummeted as the minor intestinal infection he was brought with spread and affected other organs.
Far from getting treated free of cost, Vaid’s son Gaurav (32) paid for almost everything — from medicines to tests and equipment — used for the treatment. The family was even asked to get the arterial blood gas test, a routine procedure to check the PH of the blood before surgery, at a private hospital.
“Both the machines in the ICU and the lab were not working, so they gave me my father’s blood samples and asked me to get the tests done at a private hospital. I had to run around for one whole day just to get the test done,” Gaurav said.
“Three blood samples got spoiled because of exposure before I finally managed to persuade a nursing home to do the test for me,” said Gaurav.
The machines and equipment rarely work, and when they do, technicians go missing. Scores of patients wait outside the locked ultrasound room 54 A. Finally, a technician turns up at 11.30 a.m., but leaves at 12.15 p.m. for lunch after locking the room again.
“Most ultrasounds are done at privately laboratories outside the hospital. After all, how long can one wait?” said a patient in queue, refusing to divulge his identity.
He’s worried that he may get H1N1 — swine flu — because the screening room for the highly infectious viral fever is just across the corridor.
“It’s right next to the ultrasound room and a public elevator, which is used by patients and staff alike. No thought seems to have gone into running this hospital,” he complained.
Too many patients, not enough staff
The hospital is cleaner than some of its counterparts, but overcrowding puts pressure on the infrastructure and staff. There are no stretchers and no helpers to help patients too ill to walk and it’s not uncommon to see relatives carrying patients on their lap or back.
“Holding him up is very uncomfortable for him. If there were stretchers around, we could have carried him on one ourselves,” said Bhairon Singh (25), an electrician from Aligarh who was carrying his ailing father around the hospital.
Doctors say they are helpless. “We want to help, but there’s little we can do about the lack of infrastructure. One nurse here takes care of 10 ICU beds. Who doesn’t want to have good working conditions? The least we expect from the administration is hygienic work conditions and proper infrastructure,” said a postgraduate student from the University College of Medical sciences (UCMS), which is attached to GTB hospital.