If patients at the Guwahati Medical College Hospital (GMCH) suffer from tomophobia and trypanophobia, there is a strong reason—recycled surgical instruments and syringes.
One of Assam’s three premier state-run hospitals, GMCH has been under the scanner since it was virtually overtaken by rats three years ago. Periodic sanitization drives weakened the rodent army, but then it encouraged the snakes to creep in with two baby cobras making it to the ICU last year.
The hospital has now come under fire from the Assam Pollution Control Board (APCB) for re-using disposable surgical gloves, surgical needles and syringes. Tomophobia and Trypanophobia, by the way, are the fears of surgical operations and injections, respectively.
On December 29, a team led by APCB chairman Jawahar Lal Dutta carried out a televised check to find out if GMCH was complying with a High Court directive to stick to hygiene norms. The deadline expired Tuesday.
“The hospital was a picture of negligence, which is criminal when the threat of HIV is looming large. We shall submit an affidavit against GMCH for non-compliance of its directive,” said Dutta.
According to APCB officials, nurses were caught sterilizing disposable syringes instead of destroying them after single use. The check also found hospital staff guilty of recycling surgical gloves in the high-risk labour room. If that were not enough, cadavers of children were found half-burnt in a faulty incinerator meant to dispose of hospital wastes.
GMCH superintendent PK Ojha said things were not as bad in the hospital as they were made out to be. He, however, admitted to newspapers being used to burn “wastes” in the incinerator, which has been experiencing a low-temperature problem.
Notably, GMCH is in line for a Central upgrade package of Rs 100 crore.