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State of gynaecology wards in Chandigarh: Baby on chair, mother on stretcher

There are only 100 beds in the gynaecology and obstetrics ward of Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32. Of these, only 10 beds are in the labour room.

punjab Updated: Oct 02, 2017 14:43 IST
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Chandigarh hospitals,Pgimer,gynaecology
gynaecology ward of Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, where two mothers share one bed with their new-born babies.(HT File Photo)

They lie squeezed in one corner of the bed. Even during labour pain, they cannot stretch legs fearing they will hit another pregnant woman on the same bed. They are scared of screaming in pain, lest they are “scolded” by the staff and many lying on trollies do not even get to sleep with their babies as the trolly is too small to adjust the two of them.

The gynaecology wards of city-based government hospitals are bursting at the seams with over 250% bed occupancy. With two to three women adjusted on one bed, undergoing delivery in these hospitals becomes a nightmare for many.

There are only 100 beds in the gynaecology and obstetrics ward of Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32. Of these, only 10 beds are in the labour room.

In 2016, 19,666 women were admitted to the ward, in stark contrast to the number of beds available. Director principal (additonal) Dr AK Janmeja said the bed occupancy was 263% in 2016.

“Last year, we performed 7,363 deliveries, of which over 3,000 were caesarean. This year, 4,522 deliveries have been performed so far,” he said.

The gynaecology ward is located on the ground floor of A-block building and reveals a dismal picture. The antenatal and postnatal wards remain jam-packed with patients.

Such is the rush here, that a queue of trolleys of new mothers stretches up to the entrance of the ward. While the mothers lie on trollies, chairs are adjusted between two trollies where a family sits holding a baby.

“The doctors are good, but the hospital should have more beds. It is not easy to lie on a trolley, especially after a caesarean operation. The entire experience was horrifying. I cannot wait to get back home,” said a woman.

The attendant of the woman said, “The rush is maddening here. The health department should either construct more hospitals or increase the number of beds.”


A whiteboard outside the labour room of Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) reads, ‘Total beds in labour room nursery: 4, Babies: 16. Likely to get NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) bed in next 24 hours: ZERO’.

The board paints a clear picture of how overburdened the ward is. There are two labour rooms at PGIMER: clean labour room that has 21 beds and septic labour room with 10 beds.

At any point, there are 40 to 60 patients in the clean labour room; that means three women sharing one bed. In 2016, 5,795 deliveries were performed and over 2,000 were caesarean. In 2017, 3,757 deliveries have been performed, of over 1,500 were caesarean.


Dr Vanita Suri, head of gynaecology department, said, “PGIMER has become a general hospital; every patient is referred here. We cannot refuse them and where should I send these patients? The condition is equally worse in both the other government hospitals.”

“One day, the government suddenly announces that there should be 100% institutional deliveries but have they strengthened the infrastructure in hospitals?” she added.

Dr Suri said PGIMER was constructed in 1962. Back then, a 10-bed labour room was constructed.

“When I joined in 1983, there were hardly 2,000 deliveries per year, but the number has increased four times now. However, the number of beds remains the same,” she said.

She said the city dispensaries should be strengthened and gynaecologists should be posted at each of them. Timings should be increased from 2pm to evening hours.”

“My plea to the other states is that they should refer cases to medical colleges in their hospitals,” she added


■ Senior gynaecologists posted in labour room so that these are vacated early

■ Routine gynaecological surgeries are withheld so as to keep more beds for deliveries. Looking after pregnant patients is a priority

■ Robotic surgeries for other gynae surgeries. As a result, these patients are discharged early and beds are arranged for delivery mothers

■ Earlier, several pregnant women were admitted for surveillance of babies, but a daily maternal and foetal surveillance clinic has been started for the purpose. Another way to keep beds free.


First Published: Oct 02, 2017 14:33 IST