Nightmare On Health Street
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08 September 2010
By Sumitra Deb Roy
About 200 surgeries cancelled in 4 hospitals
Operation theatres in the four state–run J J Group of hospitals were all but sealed as nurses and ward boys stayed away from work en masse in a show of support to the nation–wide strike. Barring a few emergency surgeries, close to 200 major as well as minor surgeries had to be rescheduled at the J J, GT, St George and Cama Hospitals.
In the absence of ward boys and OT assistants, doctors and student nurses did the work of shifting patients, providing medicines, cleaning up after surgeries, etc. Home guards, too, were seen pushing stretchers and shifting patients.
For example, at GT Hospital, when one of the patients had to be operated for appendicitis, doctors successfully carried out the surgery with the help of student nurses. "The surgeon and anaesthetist themselves cleaned the patient and shifted her to the ward," said associate professor Dr Jeetendra Sankpal.
At J J Hospital in Byculla, all 750 nurses and over 300 ward boys stayed aaway from work. Dean of the hospital Dr T P Lahane said that interns and student nurses saved the day. "Many departments like ophthalmology, cardiac surgery, general surgery and orthopaedics had to reschedule surgeries," he said, adding that testing and diagnostic facilities remained unaffected as technicians did not participate in the strike.
Doctors at Cama and Albless Hospital, too, said they had a "near normal" day as four routine deliveries were carried out and 18 patients, including six children, were admitted and treated without a hitch. But for Mumbaikars who were desperate to reach a hospital, Tuesday was a nightmare, as autos simply refused to ferry them. Twenty–three–year–old
Saurabh Gupta spent more than an hour trying to get his wife to Siddharth Hospital at Goregaon. "She had sustained severe burn injuries after a pot of boiling rice fell on her," said Gupta.