In the last two months, the labour room at the municipal VN Desai Hospital, Santacruz, has all but shut down, with just one gynaecologist and no anaesthetist to conduct deliveries.
Of the three full-time gynaecologists at the hospital, two resigned from service.
The sole remaining gynaecologist is a fresh postgraduate serving his compulsory hospital stint and may resign any time.
And all four posts of full-time anaesthetists are vacant.
The gynaecologist has to depend on a panel of private anaesthetists who are “irregular”.
“We admitted a staff nurse, who was due for delivery, for a C-section after an anaesthetist agreed to come in.
But despite calling him at least thrice, he did not turn up.
I had to refer her — in labour — to a private hospital.
Fortunately, her child did not die,” said a doctor from the hospital.
The shortage of doctors is evident from the number of deliveries conducted by the hospital.
At least 30 women in labour were referred to other hospitals last month.
As compared with 119 deliveries in May, only six deliveries were conducted in June, and just two were conducted this month.
The 254-bed hospital has more than 250 pregnant women registered with its antenatal clinic.
“Doctors told me that I should get myself registered with the antenatal care clinic at another hospital as this hospital does not conduct deliveries anymore,” said a seven-month pregnant woman who had come for a check-up on Thursday.
Dr VK Sane, medical superintendent of the hospital, said, “Shortage of doctors is a problem across the country. But by August we should get a new batch of doctors. As of now, we are conducting deliveries only during office hours.”