Patients at the municipal H Bhagwati Hospital in Borivli spent almost six hours on Tuesday without nurses as the staff was busy dancing at the annual day celebration.
When the staff returned only after 3.30pm, the outpatient ward (OPD) had reported almost 100 patients and 25 admissions, including emergencies like motorcycle accidents.
Dhananjay Junnarkar, social activist and local member of the Congress, said when he visited the hospital on Tuesday afternoon, the Medical Officer (MO) on duty, responsible for entire operations of the hospital, was attending to patients, administering injections and checking intravenous saline in the emergency ward — work normally done by nurses.
“While he (MO) said he is unaware of the absenteeism, other employees informed me that all the nurses who were on duty, had participated in an event which was taking place at nearby Prabhodankar Thackeray Auditorium. The patients were either being transferred to Shatabdi Hospital in Kandivli or were given primary medication and discharged because there was not a single nurse to attend to them,” said Junnarkar.
The 11-storey, newly-built medical facility which was inaugurated last year, has 72 posts for staff nurses, of which 46 are filled by permanent employees. The hospital, according to official figures of civic body, is still short of 26 nurses.
Sources from the hospital confirmed that the event, ‘nurses’ annual day celebration’, started at 10am and concluded around 2.30pm. “All the nurses, reported to work at the hospital around 3.30pm. Dr Pradeep Jadhav, chief medical superintendent and in-charge of all municipal periphery hospitals in the city, was the chief guest, invited by Matron Usha Patil and Dr KG Pimple, medical superintendent of Shatabdi and Bhagwati Hospitals. In a way, all the three influential personalities of the hospital, were okay with leaving patients in the lurch and allowing the on-duty nurses to dance and celebrate at the event,” said one of the doctors from the hospital.
Dr Jadhav refuted the claims and said the function was organised by school of nursing and the participants were not staff nurses but students from Nurses Training College (NTC). “It was an annual NTC function and none of the participants were on-duty nurses. We had sufficient nurses at the hospital and there were no problems whatsoever,” said Dr Jadhav.
However, Dr Pimple, who did not specify whether the participants were on-duty staff nurses or trainees, said the two senior MO from Bhagwati Hospital were responsible to manage the staff since it’s an annual nursing function. “I had got an update from the hospital that additional doctors were pushed into the duty and there was sufficient staff available. Two senior MO from the hospital had informed me that they are looking after the operations,” said Dr Pimple.