Worried about the apparently unheard-before shocking incident making headlines, Nabanna has asked the district health administration to submit the report as soon as possible.
Family members of some patients who have undergone Covid-19 treatment in the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH) have alleged that they were denied even common medicines during the patients’ discharge.
A relative of a patient said that the Central Medicine Store at the NBMCH, where the nurses at the Covid Block sent him for the medicines yesterday, told him that all the four types of medicines, including vitamins and antibiotics like Vitamin C , Vitamin D3, Cefron 500, anti-bacterial ciprofloxacin, were not available at the store.
According to him, the man at the sole counter that was open at the medical store in Block-26 marked all the medicines and scribbled an “NA” (not available) in the prescription. When contacted about the matter, authorities at the NBMCH, however, said they were not aware of the medicines going ‘out of stock.’
“I then went back to the nursing station in the Covid Block, where one nurse had told me to get back if the medicines were not available at the store. I went back there and the nurses too checked if they had the required medicines with them, so as to give me some. However, upon checking, they also found that they did not have the medicines with them,” the relative of the patient said.
“Left with no option, I had to stop the ambulance carrying the patient, who had started to feel dizzy because of weakness, outside the NBMCH gate and buy the medicines at a private medical store there,” he added. It may be noted here that most of the patients, who belong to the economically backward section of society, depend on the region’s premiere hospital for their medical needs.
“I could afford to buy half the amount of the medicines that would have actually cost me over Rs 1500. But how can a poor man coming from a village buy the medicines from outside? The NBMCH authorities should look into the issue seriously, because those medicines are required even for patients who have recovered from Covid-19,” he said.
On the other hand, NBMCH superintendent Sanjay Kumar Mallik said there was no crisis of those medicines. “However, I will look into the issue if a complaint is filed with a copy of the prescription,” he said. The relative of the patient, however, expressed fear of retribution if he filed any written complaint. Meanwhile, the chairperson of the board of administrators at the Siliguri Municipal Corporation, Gautam Deb, said the NBMCH authorities had been informed of the need for some medicines.
“We will procure those medicines soon from the state government so that there is no issue on this,” Mr Deb said after a meeting today. Voluntary organisations, which are working at the ground level to ensure health facilities for the people, said unavailability of such common medicines during times of crisis like this could not be accepted.
“Those are very common medicines. We fail to understand why those medicines are not available at the NBMCH,” said the secretary of the Siliguri Welfare Organisation, Rupak De Sarkar.