Eight-ft-high posters announcing the Gladrags Mega Model Hunt are put up in the campus of the Nowrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital in Parel every year, unfailingly.
But critical patient-care facilities are missing at the 84-year-old hospital, which is run by the Wadia trust and aided by the government and municipal corporation. The Wadia Group organises the Gladrags contest.
The 1,000-bed hospital, which conducts about 7,000 deliveries, including many high-risk ones every year, has not been upgraded for a long time and does not have an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or ventilators for adults. The hospital has about eight paediatric ventilators.
On Tuesday, a 26-year-old Bhoiwada resident, who developed complications after delivering at Wadia, died a few hours after she was transferred to the ICU at KEM hospital. Sayli Pawar’s husband, Shailesh, had alleged poor facilities at Wadia and delay in admitting her to KEM had cost her life.
This case has not only highlighted the hospital’s deficiencies but also its decline. It was once the premier training ground for obstetricians. The number of patients coming to Wadia has reduced drastically.
“The hospital used to conduct up to 30,000 deliveries a year in the 1990s,” said a senior doctor, requesting anonymity. He added that the number
has dropped by more than 75 per cent.
While this may be due to various factors, another doctor, also requesting anonymity, said patients have lost faith in the hospital.
Sources said about eight to 10 women have to be rushed to KEM every month because they need intensive care.
But Dr S.B. Chavan, the chief senior executive at Wadia, said they had not felt the need for an ICU till now.
“The dean and doctors have not demanded an ICU. KEM is just across the road and we are affiliated to them, so we transfer patients,” he said. “But after Tuesday’s incident, we are planning to look into this.”
Dr Chavan said the government had not given any grants to upgrade facilities. “The trust is anyway spending money on maintenance of this heritage building from its own kitty,” he said.
A senior doctor attached to the hospital said the management is not interested in improving the facilities. “The operation theatre was revamped two years ago but it happened only because a private trust donated Rs 75 lakh,” he said, adding that it is often stressful for doctors to work in the “primitive setting”.