Monday, 9.30 pm, Scene 1
A pregnant woman in labour is wheeled into the emergency room for a Cesarean section. Seven family members accompany her. Upset with the sudden rush of outsiders, the doctors-on-duty ask the attendants to leave.
With the doors wide open and the doctors and interns constantly moving in and out, the pregnant woman is undressed in full public view. I’m embarrassed and don’t know what to do. An intern doctor spots me. Even as he turns me out, he says, “Don’t be surprised, this happens every day. We too want better working conditions like the patients, but the condition of the OT hasn’t changed despite several complaints.”
The biggest issue, he says, is infections. “About half an hour ago, a senior resident operated upon 24-year-old patient Vivek Kumar who had severe infection in the leg in the same OT. About half a litre of pus was extracted from the patient’s wound and, in this same OT a baby would be born. You can well imagine the chances of the baby’s survival after being exposed to multiple bacteria right from the time he is born,” he said.
In the adjoining OT, a stomach surgery is taking place and the patient starts to bleed profusely. His blood pressure falls rapidly and doctors need to pour warm water as part of the procedure.
The problem is there is no hot water. The geysers don’t work. The surgeon is forced to use cold water instead. “We cannot heat the saline, which is used to clean the stomach. The condition of the patient is bound to deteriorate, but with such a lot of work load and insane working conditions, surgeons are really not left with many options and time,” said a senior resident. Complaints to the administration have fallen on deaf ears.