Staff, medicines, faculty- Darbhanga’s largest hospital falls short on all fronts
When 40-year-old Shail Choudhary, visited the outpatient department (OPD) of the opthalmology section at the Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), she did not anticipate that it would be so difficult for her to secure a minor consultation with a doctor.
Choudhary stood in a long queue at the OPD registration counter , a crowded hall with little ventilation, as she waited to procure a registration slip meant for OPD consultations. When her turn came, a PG doctor hurriedly conducted an eye check-up and prescribed an eye drop, advising her to come again the next day for a refraction test. The doctor could not give her much time, as he had to attend a seminar, Choudhary was later told by some staff members.
“The eye drop was not available in the OPD drug store. I bought it from the market,” said Choudhary, for whom being stranded in scorching corridors of the hospital for a consultation is nothing less than a punishment.
On paper, DMCH is the largest government hospital in north Bihar, with over 1,030 beds. The OPD unit receives between 2,300 to 3,000 patients every day. But lack of facilities for patients has meant that their health care experiences are more often than not unpleasant.
Shortage of nurses is one of the major areas of concern in DMCH, says superintendent Dr Raj Ranjan Prasad. Dr Prasad said that against sanctioned strength of 1,071 nurses, the hospital currently has merely 260 nurses. Lack of adequate medicines is another problem the hospital is grappling with. Several patients have complained that many listed medicines are not available at the hospital’s drug store. In the recent case of young Faizan whose wrong arm was plastered after he sustained a fracture, his family had to buy several medicines from outside, due to the unavailability of many medicines in the hospital’s drug store.
Apart from shortage of staff and overcrowded wards, DMCH is also struggling with conducting pathological tests. Since the closure of Doyen’s laboratory in March 2018, the clinical pathology laboratory is the only functional laboratory in DMCH and is over burdened. Morgue facilities in the hospital are also inadequate, as the hospital does not have the infrastructure to keep more than a limited number of bodies. Unclaimed bodies lying with the autopsy department are handed over to the police.
Between April 2018 and March 2019, more than 6 lakh patients availed health care services in DMCH’s OPD unit and more than 36,000 patients were treated indoor, during the same period.
Inadequate faculty has been another problem for DMCH. Dr HN Jha, principal, DMCH, said that he has submitted an application to the Medical Council of India (MCI), to grant permission to increase the number of MBBS seats to 200 from existing 120, for the academic session of 2020-21. The number of seats for the MBBC course was increased to 120 from 100, after the union health ministry granted permission to accommodate students under the 10% quota for the economically weaker section (EWS), in general category.
Against requirement of 522 faculty members, DMCH presently had only 202 faculty members in both undergraduate and postgraduate courses. The DMCH was short of faculties, as per norms of the MCI. “The faculty deficiency for MBBS is currently 5.3%,” said Dr Jha.
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