India: Blame it on power failure 15 hospital patients die : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Tuesday 16 May 2000 Blame it on power failure: 15 patients die in Patna hopsital The Times of India News Service

PATNA: About 15 patients suffering from dehydration, cardiac ailments and cerebral haemorrhage died in the Indira Gandhi emergency unit of the Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH) here last Friday. The collapse of the electricity-run resuscitation equipment due to prolonged power failure was stated to be the main reason.

Giving this information, a doctor on duty in morning hours, who requested anonymity, said at least six patients died in ``one hour before his eyes'' as the vital suction and other equipment could not be run due to the breakdown in power supply for four hours.

According to him, two standby generators of the emergency unit failed to operate and the SOS sent by the doctors to the superintendent and the deputy superintendent of the PMCH bore no results. The doctors had asked the superintendent to shift the generators installed in the other wings of the PMCH to the emergency unit for the time being, but no such arrangement was made, he said while decrying what he called ``the utter neglect of the emergency unit by the authorities concerned''.

The doctor said saline water and medicines needed for the treatment of emergency patients are seldom supplied to the patients with the result that the attendants have to purchase them from outside. Hospital sources say a number of patients have been shifted to private clinics from the emergency unit on account of the pathetic condition prevailing there due to irregular power supply, shortage of senior doctors and other staff.

Attendants complain that the emergency unit is mainly run by junior doctors and post-graduate students, who lack the requisite experience to deal with difficult cases. They say senior doctors seldom bother to attend such patients except VIPs.

Rajnish, attendant of a woman patient, says, ``During the last couple of days, no senior doctor has cared to see my patient though I have been told by the PG students that she has sustained almost 100 per cent burns.'' Rajnish alleges that his patient is being administered only saline water.

However, a senior anaesthetist, D M Sinha, refuted the charge that senior doctors do not visit the emergency unit. PMCH deputy superintendent Siyaram Pyasa parried the question about the dearth of senior doctors in the unit. He banged the phone, saying: ``How do you expect from me to answer your question?''

-- Martin Thompson (, May 16, 2000

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