In excruciatingly painful labour, a 27-year-old woman was rushed to the emergency ward of the Delhi government’s Lok Nayak Hospital. Doctors quickly assessed that she needed to be moved to the gynaecology ward a few metres away.
But, Kamla (name changed) had to take a two-km-long circuitous ambulance ride outside the hospital compound to get there. That’s because the space in front of the two buildings, used as a service lane, has been turned into a parking lot by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) — by mistake. Apart from gynaecology, paediatrics and medicine blocks have been hit.
Lok Nayak gets more than 10,000 patients a day. Authorities fear that in an eventuality of mass casualties, it will be quite difficult to manage the movement of patients.
“During peak hours the entire service lane is packed with vehicles, making it impossible for ambulances to ferry patients from one block to another,” said a senior hospital official on condition of anonymity.
“There is an underground multi-level parking lot maintained by MCD right opposite the hospital, then why do they need to convert service lane into a parking lot?”
The hospital has written to the civic body to remove the parking lot, but nothing has been done. Health minister AK Walia says he will take up the matter with the civic body.
“We are always on red alert for VVIP visits to Raj Ghat and other samadhis, all sport events at Ferozshah Kotla and Ambedkar stadium and other important events. Ours is the nearest hospital designated for disaster management. Any delay in patient’s arrival in emergency can cause loss of human life,” reads the letter sent by the hospital authorities to the MCD.
“The parking lot should not have been allotted to anyone. We will look into the matter,” a senior MCD official, who didn’t wish to be identified, told HT.