KOLKATA, 13 JULY: Have you ever heard of a hospital where patients are forced to leave their beds early in the morning to fill water, a hospital where patients share their beds with feline friends while cockroaches move playfully on the walls.
This may sound straight out of a horror movie. A visit to the Tulshiram Lakshmidevi Jaiswal Hospital at Ghusuri in Howrah not only shocks a first time visitor but also exposes a harsh reality behind the tall claims made by health officials of revamped infrastructure in the hospital. The four-storeyed 260-bed hospital – comprising a paediatric ward, operating rooms, a female ward, orthopaedics among other important departments – is in a woeful state. In the absence of water connection on the top floors, patients are forced to walk down and fetch water from a tank on the ground floor each morning.
But the ordeal of patients doesn’t end here. Cats have a free run on patients’ beds and pounce on their meals. The feline neighbours nonchalantly make the most of vacant beds.
What is more creepy is the huge numbers of cockroaches moving on the walls of the paediatric wards pose a danger to the lives of newborns.
“The government hospital which could have been a boon for poor denizens in Howrah is crying out for attention ,” admitted a hospital staff.
A harried 21-year-old inmate of Liluah Home For Destitute Women escaped last week from the hospital on the pretext of collecting water.
Nurses and attendants complain the situation turns nightmarish during rains as they have to wade through knee-deep water to reach to the patients because of the accumulated water on the floors.
It’s not only the patients who suffer, but also the visitors. The drains in the campus overflow during the rains and most of the visitors accidentally slip into it causing serious injuries, added the staff.
The hospital is already grappling with a shortage of doctors. Officially, there are 20 doctors against the sanctioned strength of 30, but it could be less, said hospital sources.
The Statesman published a report highlighting the shortage of doctors in the hospital.
The medical superintendent of the hospital Dr Aparesh Banerjee, admitting the problems faced by the patients, cited helplessness. “Health department officials have repeatedly been told about the water problems and shortage of doctors, but no steps have been taken, said Mr Banerjee. "The situation is getting worse with each passing day.”