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Saturday, Oct 19, 2019

Why do hospital labs remain shut on public holidays?

Dustbins near the bed, occasional power cuts and mosquito buzz added to woes of patients in emergency ward of Lohia institute

lucknow Updated: Apr 28, 2019 19:17 IST
Rajeev Mullick
Rajeev Mullick
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Bins for biomedical waste kept near a patient’s bed in the emergency ward.
Bins for biomedical waste kept near a patient’s bed in the emergency ward. (deepak Gupta/HT Photo)
         

If you land in a government hospital even with a gall bladder infection, more than the medicines, it is patience that you need in abundance.

Having forced to spend 11 days at Lucknow’s Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences (RMLIMS)—a super specialty autonomous medical institute— no one would know this better than me.

Though I got discharged half-cured, with acute abdominal pain almost gone but swelling still persisting, the wish is never to go back to bed number 8 of the emergency ward where I landed on that ill-fated evening of April 13 (Saturday).

While doctors attended to me within minutes and gave first aid, the three huge plastic dustbins kept adjacent my bed distracted my mind from the pain that I was writhing in.

“We use it for the disposal of medical waste like used syringes, empty bottle of drips and cotton, of the entire ward. One is for liquid waste, second one for dry waste and the third for miscellaneous items,” the ward boy explained to me later.

Just when I thought that the hospital took care of sanitary requirements so nicely, a deadly prick, quite different from that of the injections, woke me up from slumber.

I could sense more mosquitoes in the closed AC ward than in the tin shed outside my house.

And if that was not enough, occasional power cuts consistently added to the woes of around 20 patients recuperating (hopefully) in the ward.

A mosquito repellent, courtesy my nephew, ensured that the night was peaceful, even though if went missing (read stolen) early morning.

Forced to spend a few more sleepless nights, in abdominal pain and yet fighting mosquitoes, the only advice I can give to those coming here is to carry a set of mosquito repellents and a portable fan.

Fan in a centrally air conditioned hospital? Yes, because, AC here trips every now and then.

After 72 hours in the emergency ward, I was shifted to the gastro ward.

Little did I know that the ‘test’ing times were about to begin now. CT scan, Ultra sound, X ray etc, listed the doctor — with a rider that none could be conducted the next day as labs would remain closed on account of Mahavir Jayanti.

It meant that I had to suffer more before the doctors could actually diagnose why I was here.

While I was waiting to know what inside my stomach was “killing” me, doctors cautioned me that I should try to get all the tests, including the CT scan, done on April 18 itself because on April 19 labs would remain closed again owing to Good Friday.

Since the tests included an endoscopy, on April 17 midnight, I was asked not to take food and water till they were done.

The 12.30 pm slot for the test came around 3.30 pm as radiologists and para medics gave preference to patients referred from the ICU or in critical condition.

So what if my fasting was getting prolonged for close to 16 hours?

Since all the tests could not be completed in the stipulated time, I was told to solemnly observe Good Friday the next day and take rest.

Thankfully, all the tests were completed before the resurrection of Christ. On Monday, I had all the reports in my hand.

While it took another 24 hours for the doctors to discharge me, with a note on how severe my gall bladder infection was, and why I should get it removed after 6 weeks when the swelling subsided, nothing could compensate the pain I had to go through because of frequent closure of labs, tripping of ACs, buzzing of mosquitoes and apathetic behaviour of some staff.

Mind it, I was a patient, already in pain.

First Published: Apr 28, 2019 19:17 IST

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