Chaos at Mumbai government hospitals as victims pour in

November 29th, 2008 - 5:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Nov 29 (IANS) The Mumbai terror assault, which has left at least 327 people injured and many traumatised, has laid bare the poor state of government hospitals in India’s financial capital. Patients are complaining of chaos, inadequate facilities and many are even opting for more expensive private medical institutes.Many are saying that perhaps the number of casualties in the terror strike - over 160 - would have been much lesser if government hospitals such as Cama, GT (Gokuladas Tejpal) and St George had had better medical facilities.

“My brother could have been saved if he had been treated on time,” said Narayan Gupta, brother of Shiv Shankar Gupta, 35, a hawker at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), who was seriously injured when terrorists opened fire there.

He was brought to GT Hospital in a serious condition and later succumbed to his wounds. Shiv Shankar is survived by his wife and two children.

“We are illiterate people and don’t know what they have done. But he is gone, leaving us in a helpless condition,” his brother said.

Bhagan Shinde, a worker at GT Hospital, received bullet injuries on his back when terrorists shot him near his home.

Shinde’s nephew Shyam Jadhav said: “He was shot on the road and managed to come home. We took him immediately to the hospital and admitted him to the ICU. We were not informed about his condition and then doctors declared him dead the next day. Perhaps better treatment could have saved him.”

St George Hospital got a large number of casualties as it is located next to the CST Station. The station was one of the venues that came under attack from terrorists as they began their strike Wednesday night and carried it on till Saturday morning.

S.N. Shah, who resides near the St George and has been helping patients there as a volunteer, said the condition of government hospitals were miserable.

Referring to St George Hospital, he said: “In spite of getting huge funding from the government, it has not upgraded its infrastructure. They are not in a condition to tackle any kind of emergency.

“Many people who were taken there in a serious condition were sent away to either JJ Hospital or KEM as it does not have any upgraded equipment. It’s complete chaos here.”

Authorities at the St. George Hospital said while 72 people were brought dead, 106 injured were admitted, of whom 89 were transferred to JJ Hospital. Eleven people died while being treated. Of the remaining six, three were discharged and an equal number are being treated in the hospital.

Ashok Kamble, deputy superintendent at St.George, said the hospital was equipped to tackle any kind of emergency but admitted that JJ Hospital has a better trauma care centre and that is why many patients were transferred there.

Though the hospital has 200 beds, only three patients of the Mumbai terror attack are being treated.

“Bullet injuries are very critical and can damage any part of the body. So, most of the critical cases were sent to JJ Hospital as they have a better trauma care centre which is very important for such type of injuries,” he added.

M.V. Kulkarni, superintendent of GT Hospital, said 14 people injured in the Mumbai attacks are being treated there. The hospital has a capacity of 521 beds.

He said initially 33 people were brought there in an injured state, of whom 15 have been transferred to other hospitals. Two died while being treated and the rest were released.

He said the relatives of many of the injured opted to transfer their kin and took them to JJ, Bombay or Leelavati hospitals. Incidentally, the JJ Hospital is a government hospital.

Kulkarni said his hospital was equipped with all the basic amenities, including medicines, blood bank and competent doctors. He said: “Our OTs, ICUs and other allied centres are updated and there is no problem in dealing with any situation.”

One of the relatives of an injured who was brought there said: “We are shifting our brother to a better hospital as we know it will be no help staying here as they don’t have the advanced technology required for quality treatment.”

“They are still using primitive methods of treatment which may cost lives. I am shifting my brother to the Bombay Hospital,” said the relative.

Patients with resources are opting for the privately owned Bombay Hospital as they find it more safe and say it has all the necessary infrastructure for quality treatment. Most foreign nationals who ere injured in the attack have been admitted there.

“Our operation theatres are open 24 hours and ten surgeons are working day and night to fight the situation,” Deep Kumar, chief medical officer, Bombay Hospital, told IANS.

He said 70 injured were admitted to the hospital, of whom two have succumbed to their wounds.

“Fifty percent of the injured admitted here are foreigners from countries like Britain, US, France, Spain, Germany, Saudi and so on,” Kumar added.

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