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HT Spotlight: Needed, a trauma centre to tend to accident victims at Panchkula general hospital

Need of the hour: Crucial time is lost as accident victims are referred from Panchkula general hospital to either PGI or GMCH in Chandigarh; it’s not equipped to handle major burn cases, despite opening a unit recently.

punjab Updated: Mar 18, 2018 12:36 IST
Vivek Gupta
Vivek Gupta
Hindustan Times, Panchkula
trauma centre,accident victims,Panchkula general hospital
Patients with their attendants in the emergency ward of the General Hospital, Sector 6, in Panchkula. The ward doesn’t have a senior or a junior resident doctor and is making do with just two medical officers. (Sant Arora/HT)

Panchkula is located on the Zirakpur-Shimla National Highway. It is directly accessible to National Highway 73 from Panchkula to Yamunanagar. However, the highway city where road accidents are common feature has a government hospital that does not have the facility to treat accident victims.

The statistics obtained from the emergency ward of General Hospital in Sector 6, district’s main hospital, reveal that 235 accident patients were referred out of the hospital to Chandigarh’s Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Sector 14 or to Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) in Sector 32 in February.

It was beyond the capacity of the hospital to treat them due to lack of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) management and absence of well-qualified neurosurgeons or general surgeon that can handle such cases when they are brought here immediate after the incident.

Then there is no facility to treat patients with serious burn injuries, major poison cases or any other multi-trauma case that immediately needs a specific treatment.

The hospital recentlystartedburn unit in response to the death of seven people following cylinder blast in Sector 10. But it does not have a super speciality doctor for treatment of patients which have around 80% or 90% burn injuries.

NC Rana of consumers’ association in Panchkula that pushed for a separate burn unit here after the incident in Sector 10 said the emergency services in hospital should be strengthened with specialists and equipment that can handle patients of any nature.

He said referral of patients is not a solution. “The vital treatment time is lost in shifting the patients when every second is crucial for them,” he said.

Dr Sanjeev Trehan, principal medical officer, admits that the hospital lacks tertiary care facility and cases of severe head injuries or poly trauma cases are beyond the hospital’s capacity. “But I am trying my level best to upgrade the hospital,” he said.

Allegations of delay in referral

Sometimes there are instances where kin of serious patients got jittery and alleged delay in referral to PGI or other hospitals.However, hospital claimed that their response time at the emergency for initial assessment of the patient is not more than 10 minutes.

Dr Sanjeev said everyday 250-300 patients arrive in emergency ward. Our record suggests that officials on duty reach to conclusion within 10 to 13 minutes whether patients can be treated here or needs to be referred.

Subhash Papneja, who is a frequent visitor at the hospital as a volunteer, said the hospital should have the facility to treat all kinds of serious patients, given that it is a highway city and many times accidents are life threatening.

“Every referral from here reduces the chance of survival, which should not happen here,” he said.

No senior resident, junior resident in emergency

Staff shortage is a problem at the emergency ward as there is no provision of intern, senior resident or junior resident.It has two medical officers changing regular shifts with senior doctors being on call. Papneja said emergency facilities are fine during day time but service at night hours are poor. “I have seen cases being referred out at night that is within its capacity of the hospital to treat,” he said.

Panchkula India March 13 Emergency Ward In Civil Hospital in Sector 6, Panchkula March 13 2018 Photo by Sant Arora Hindustan Times

Hospital wants advanced care on PPP mode

The hospital recently started Cath Lab on public private partnership (PPP) and the model is successful. Except heart surgery, the hospital is now equipped to handle all other kinds of heart patients. For instance, since November last year when this facility was started, it has placed stents in 184 patients. A total of 298 patients of coronary angiography have been treated. Heart diagnosis tests like ECHO, ECG or TMT is common now.

Dr Sanjeev said the rates charged in this hospital are one-third of what is being charged in the private sector. “Since we have PPP model running successfully where there is provision of free treatment to BPL families and government employees, advanced trauma care facility can be opened here on PPP mode,” he said.

According to him, the hospital has space to construct multi-storey building where first floor can exclusively be dedicated to ICU management. Second floor can be knee replacement centre. Third floor can have heart surgery facility. “Given that there are so many problems related to hiring super speciality staff in government sector, the project under PPP mode will ensure speedy infrastructure development and then availability of the well-qualified staff,” he said. He said his proposal is in active consideration of the state government and he hoped for positive results.

First Published: Mar 18, 2018 12:35 IST