PM’s presence at AIIMS stirs curiosity among patients

January 24th, 2009 - 4:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Jan 24 (IANS) Fifty-year-old Shah Bano, a regular patient at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), was Saturday surprised to be asked for an identity proof for the first time at the hospital. After showing her voter Id card, Bano asked a security guard at the hospital gate what had happened and was told “pradhan mantri jee hospital me hain (the prime minister is in the hospital)”.

Bano, a resident of Uttar Pradesh’s Hapur town, further asked, “Kya ho gaya unhe (what has happened to him)?” and while asking her to clear the way for police vehicles to enter, the security guard said the prime minister was undergoing a surgery.

There were several other patients in the long queue of the out patient department (OPD) at AIIMS who were unaware of Manmohan Singh being admitted to the hospital.

But a big group of mediapersons, stationed at front gate of the hospital, attracted much attention.

“I came here early Saturday to show my father to a cardiologist. The moment I entered the gate I saw several cars with beacon and a lot of media people and cameras. I had a doubt about things becoming difficult in the hospital as the prime minister was here but everything is normal,” said Janki Gupta, a resident of Meerut in Uttar Pradesh.

While the old OPD section, better known as the VIP section, was cordoned off, other sections functioned normally.

“I know that the prime minister is at AIIMS as TV channels have been flashing it since Friday. How long will he be staying here?” inquired Mandakini Sharma, a Class 12 student, who had come to meet her grandfather admitted in the hospital.

Some at AIIMS were busy admiring smartly dressed Delhi Police officials, positioned in various parts of the hospital.

“I have never seen so many police vehicles and policemen in the hospital. I thought something has happened here but was later told by a hospital staff that security is for the prime minister,” said Ratul Gupta, a tea-shop owner outside the hospital.

The hospital has 1,766 beds and patients from across the country visit the premier institution. The government spends Rs.5 billion annually on the upkeep of the hospital.

Manmohan Singh, discharged from AIIMS Thursday following an angiography a day earlier, was re-admitted Friday after he felt uneasy at his 7 Race Course Road residence in the morning.

Tests over two days revealed that the 76-year-old, who became prime minister in May 2004 heading a Congress-led government, had multiple arterial blockages.

On Saturday morning, a team of 11 doctors began performing a heart surgery on the prime minister.

“The prime minister was wheeled into OT-5 at about 7.30 a.m. The surgical procedure will last four to five hours,” an AIIMS doctor said.

Manmohan Singh had earlier undergone a bypass surgery in Britain in 1990. In 2004, he had an angioplasty to open clogged arteries. He had prostate surgery in 2007 and underwent a cataract operation last year.

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