Overburdened: At Chandigarh’s government hospital, two pregnant women on one bed
Half the cases are referred from hospitals in the periphery; the number increases during the evenings and weekends.punjab Updated: Sep 23, 2017 11:57 IST
Four humans on one bed. This is a common scene at the overcrowded gynaecology ward of Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, where two mothers share one bed with their new-born babies.
The hospital stay is one of the most horrifying experiences for these mothers, who are in immense pain both before and after the delivery. Strapped for space, they find it difficult to sleep for the fear of squashing their babies, and one of them at the other side of the bed doesn’t even have the comfort of resting her back against the bed rest.
The labour room at GMSH-16 has a total of 20 beds and the number of women ready to deliver at any given point is usually between 40 and 60. This means 2-3 women have to share one bed. At times, mothers can be seen sprawled on the floor as well. Doctors say they are admitting double the number of patients they can handle as hospitals in the periphery are quick to refer their patients to this hospital.
“Nothing has changed in this ward in the last 20 years. I had shared a bed when I delivered a baby here 20 years ago. Today, my sister is also sharing a bed with another woman. This shows the sad state of hospital infrastructure in Chandigarh,” lamented Sarabjit Kaur from Zirakpur.
She was sitting next to her sister, Satnam Kaur, who was squeezed in one corner of the bed with her newborn.
“Nothing has changed in this ward in the last 20 years. I had shared a bed when I delivered a baby here 20 years ago. Today, my sister is also sharing a bed with another woman.”
On the other corner, Rani Sharma was sitting without any back-support and feeding her baby boy. She said, “It was a nightmare. I was in terrible pain, yet I could not move because another pregnant woman was lying next to me.”
“Further, while I was waiting in the labour room, two women delivered babies on beds as doctors were busy attending to other cases. It scared me further,” she said. Post-delivery, Rani was moved to another ward but here again she and her child had to share a bed.
The health officials say the patient load has increased manifold, whereas the infrastructure remains the same. They blame poor health facilities in the periphery and adjoining states, which add to the burden on the city’s government hospitals.
14,192 deliveries in 2016
In 2016, a total of 14,192 deliveries were registered in four government hospitals, namely, GMSH-16, civil hospitals in Manimajra, Sector 22 and Sector 45. Out of the total, only 8,280 cases were from Chandigarh, while the rest 5,912 were from the adjoining states.
“If the hospitals in the periphery improve their working, our work will become much easier and we will be able to provide better patient care.”
At over 4000 cases last year, Punjab sends the maximum number of delivery cases to Chandigarh hospitals. It is followed by Haryana and Himachal Pradesh with 597 and 425 cases, respectively.
Dr Vandana Gupta, Medical Superintendent, GMSH-16, said, “If the hospitals in the periphery improve their working, our work will become much easier and we will be able to provide better patient care.”
“Every evening, Chandigarh hospitals witness a deluge of referral cases from periphery, including Dera Bassi, Mohali, Landran, Kharar, Zirakpur. Why don’t they perform Caesarians in the evenings?” asked the doctor.
Corroborating her, a gynaecologist from the hospital said, “The number of patients increases during the evenings, nights, and weekends. Some of the cases are such that they can be easily dealt with in the periphery hospitals.”
“The work load must be shared by other hospitals,” she insisted.