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Raw deal for Meerut victims

Doctors have been pressing victims' family members to move them out by saying the patients would get infected if they remained at Safdarjung.

india Updated: May 26, 2006 03:06 IST

While Meerut fire victims await skin grafting surgeries, doctors at Safdarjung Hospital have advised their relatives to move the patients elsewhere. Even though the official reason is the ongoing strike, relatives say that they are being 'punished' after complaining about the dissatisfactory medical care at the Burns ward. 

Thirty patients of the Meerut fire tragedy had been admitted to Safdarjung. Of them, 15 died, 9 were discharged and 3 shifted to other hospitals.

Only three patients of the 30 that had been admitted are currently undergoing treatment at the hospital -- Monu with 60 per cent burns, 18-year-old Bhavna with 65 per cent burns and 22-year-old Rimi Oberoi with 50 per cent burns.

"A doctor on round told us that we should have thought about the consequences before we went and squealed in front of the media. I am worried about my patient and will move her to a private hospital soon," said a patient's relative, on the condition of anonymity.

With junior doctors on strike, nurses have been overburdened with patient care.

Surgeries of all three patients have been stalled due to lack of doctors administer anaesthesia. "We get a person from Meerut for dressing the wounds - all expenses paid. Staff shortage has just added to our miseries," added the relative.

According to relatives, they invited the managements' wrath after speaking to the media about the deplorable condition of the burns ward. After reports in the Hindustan Times about roach-infested wards appeared, the High Court appointed a three-member committee consisting of lawyers R.K. Saini, Meera Bhatia and AM Singhvi to report on the state of the wards.

The committee inspected the burns wards on May 21 and confirmed what HT had written. "Even we have been getting similar feedback from the relatives. They said the hospital staff became very hostile after reports appeared in the newspapers. We got to know that the hospital staff started pressuring them even more after our team inspected them. Negligence seems to be deliberate in this case," said Saini, a member of the court-appointed panel.

When Safdarjung's Medical Superintendent Dr RN Salhan was contacted for comments, his assistant maintained that he was not in his office, though the watchman confirmed his presence.

Doctors have been pressing victims' family members to move them out by saying the patients would get infected if they remained at Safdarjung. "Everybody keeps walking in and out of the ward wearing shoes. Patients are obviously at the risk of being infected," said another relative.