17 July 2011
By Nozia Sayyed
The city-based Jehangir Hospital has suddenly decided to stop admitting psychiatric patients, a decision that has irked several senior psychiatrists in the city. The decision has taken the medical fraternity by surprise because the hospital had been admitting psychiatric patients in the past.
The matter came to light when a psychiatric patient, Ishwari Wakte (22) of Shrirampur, was refused admission a few days ago. Her businessman husband, Dnyaneshwar, told DNA on Saturday that the hospital’s decision had come as a rude shock.
“My wife is suffering from convulsions for the last four months and her doctor said that she was suffering from psychosis and hallucinations. He had recommended that we get her admitted to Jehangir. We are new to Pune and hence do not where to go,” he said.
According to a city-based psychiatrist, the hospital issued a circular on July 13 stating that they would no more be admitting any psychiatric patients.
When contacted by DNA on Saturday, Jehangir Hospital chief medical administrator, Dr Prasad Muglikar, confirmed the news. Muglikar said, “The information is true and we will not be admitting any more patients with psychiatric ailments.”
According to Muglikar, the hospital lacked the infrastructure. “Such patients need special treatment. Mentally unstable patients can seek help from government-run psychiatric hospitals. We can only provide counselling and consultations to them,” he said.
Muglikar said that they had taken the decision as they feared for other patients’ safety. “Mentally unstable patients are known to cause harm not only to themselves but to others as well. We lack the appropriate facilities and infrastructure for catering to psychiatric patients and hence we have taken a policy decision to stop admissions of these patients,” he said.
City psychiatrists are unhappy with the hospital’s decision.
Dr Vidyadhar Watve, former president, Indian Psychiatric Society West Zone told DNA, “If Jehangir Hospital is calling themselves a tertiary care hospital, then they should be providing admissions. They have stigmatised psychiatry by refusing admissions to mentally ill cases. This is against human rights. We are going to pass a resolution stating that we are not happy with Jehangir. We will pass a resolution in the July 23-24 meeting of the Pune Psychiatrists Association stating that general hospitals must admit mentally ill patients.”
Indian Psychiatry Society past president Dr Devendra Shirole said, “The hospital was treating psychiatric ailments for the last 10 years and how come they realised that they lack facilities now?”