Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Anarchy in UP hospital - wardboy performing surgery


In our country, Medical professionals are respected so much, they are paid high and people equate them with Doctors. 

TV news channels often dramatise events; still there are some events which send down a shiver in one’s spine. 10th July 2012  news on ‘chalta hai attitude’ shown on Times Now was one.  It exposes the pathetic conditions that prevail in Government hospitals and worser still, the attitude of those managing those places.  The newschannel states that the  shocking display of the 'chalta hai attitude' is prompting strong public and viewer reactions.   People are angry about the fact that in one state a ward boy is allowed to perform surgical tasks and in another, a 10-year-old is humiliated by a warden. And yet in another state, an accused in a brutal assault flees the country. Anger against the chalta 'hai attitude' is simmering in India.

Times Now is a 24-hour English news channel based in Mumbai and broadcasted in India, Singapore and USA. Arnab Goswami is the Editor-in Chief ; it was he who anchored and presented  this episode, reflecting the sorry state of healthcare in two government hospitals in Uttar Pradesh.  An undertrained pharmacist and a sweeper were shown by the channel administering injections and stitching wounds in the emergency ward of the district hospital in Ballia. Sweeper Raj Kumar claimed he administers injections and stitches according to instructions of doctors.  The CMS who was on air did not appear perturbed and claimed that he has had the experience of being there and hence could do.  He also arrogantly said that ‘at the time of an emergency’ – ‘who does what’ does not matter. 

At 8 pm, the TV in a programme titled ‘Anarchy in UP Hospital’ tore to pieces the Chief Medical Superintendent on the wrong occurrences.  The news item in detail dwelt about the shocking state of affairs in a UP government hospital in Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh where  ward boys were found administering injections and sweepers stitching wounds of patients.   The TV footage showed a  class IV employee of the Bulandshahr district hospital carrying out stitches on the wounds of an injured child and another one giving an injection to a patient.  The worst part was that the  hospital authorities maintained such staff were "trained" to carry out the procedures.

On air, the  hospital's Chief Medical Superintendent (CMS) Shishir Kumar claimed, "The clip that is being shown on TV, the ward boy in it has even worked in the OT (operation theatre) for ten years. Apart from that, his duty is there in the dressing room as well. He's perfectly trained for dressing purposes."   Maintaining that what was shown was not a surgery but dressing of wound, he said, "The one who is being called cleaning boy is only cutting the thread in the course of stitching. The ward boy doing the stitching is trained. I am standing there, if you see the clip. It is happening in my supervision."

None of the hospital doctors was seen in the visuals when the ward boys were attending to the patients. V K Sharma, Additional Health Director, Meerut Zone, who paid a visit to the hospital in the wake of the telecast, said, "They (ward boys) were not operating. The man was working as an assistant...He was the OT assistant." Sharma said, "I have suggested to Dr Shishir Kumar (CMS) that in future they should make a proper contingent and only the doctors should carry out stitches or operate on patients...There should be no stitching by the other staff."

Arnab kept asking whether the person performing such surgical operation was qualified medical professional and when he was not, would he be allowed to conduct the same to a VVIP.  Arnab told the CMS that sure he know the definition of a quack and demanded that action be taken against all concerned including those who allowed such things to take place. 

Subsequent reports have it that UP Health Minister Ahmad Hassan  has ordered an inquiry into Class IV staff conducting medical procedures at the Bulandshahr hospital..Laxity will not be tolerated and stern action will be taken against errant staff," Hasan reportedly told reporters.  The hospital CMS tried to cover up stating that the doctors were there but the clips do not show what they were doing. Kumar said, "Our orthopaedic surgeon, our surgeon were present there...The grave fracture case was being handled by them....Only the stitching, and that too a minor one was happening and I was supervising him..."   Claiming that the visuals may send a "wrong signal," he said, "...In case of disaster or emergency, we have to work as a unit. And, if you follow this case, you will realise that a very good repair has been done."  Another doctor Sunil Saxena said he had been practising medicine for the last 35 years and that "medicine is a team work and paramedics are an important part and they always pitch in."

Elsewhere there was the news of Coverup' investigation after city hospital patient 'set on fire' during surgery.  NYPost.com reports that  the  chief of surgery at the city’s Lincoln Hospital “set a patient on fire” during an operation, causing severe burns on the man’s neck and chest.  The Doctor reportedly was performing a tracheotomy on April 19 to insert a breathing tube when his electronic scalpel, which gives off tiny sparks, came close to the patient’s oxygen supply, igniting a “minor explosion,” hospital insiders say.  Before the fire was extinguished, unconscious patient suffered second-degree burns on his neck and chest. He awoke from sedation in searing pain.

It was reported that the hospital which charges heavily failed to mention the patient’s burns in a post-surgery report; claiming that flames were extinguished with “no danger to the patient.”  The patient who had been admitted with pneumonia and bronchitis  and later underwent tracheotomy to insert a breathing tube is expected to fully heal.  It is stated that about  500 to 600 surgical fires occur each year nationwide,- about 25 to 30 suffer severe burns or “gross facial disfigurement,” and several have burned to death.

Sordid is the state of affairs – patients and their relatives place immense faith on the Doctors, Hospitals and the system……….

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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