Patients at the burns ward of the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ranchi are forced to undergo treatment on the floor because of overcrowding and absence of beds.
One such patient is Dinkar Oraon’s 10-year-old daughter, writhing on a mattress on the floor of a corridor without a fan on Monday. She suffered around 40% burns in an accident.
“We were initially given the mattress inside the ward but I shifted it outside so that my daughter can at least get some air in the heat. It is hot inside the ward due to overcrowding,” Oraon said, using a hand-held plastic fan.
The ward has 18 beds while eight additional patients are being treated on the floor. Oraon’s daughter, who suffered burns on her hands, legs and stomach, and another patient are in the corridor.
RIMS deputy medical superintendent Kumari Vasundhara said the patients are shifted to beds as soon as they become available when somebody is discharged.
The heatwave-like conditions in Ranchi, where the mercury hovered around 42 degrees Celsius in the past week, have added to the patients’ discomfort. Burn wounds become more painful in the heat and vulnerable to infections.
To top it all, the four airconditioners in the ward malfunctioned for a fortnight. These were repaired this week, though.
The standard medical procedure is to keep burns patients under a regulated temperature, preferably in an AC room. But this is hardly followed in the state’s premier state-run hospital.
A nurse said there are not enough beds to cater to a rising demand. “The number of burns patients has increased in the past few days. We have to attend to them on the floor.”