Shivamogga incident brings district hospitals under the scanner again

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The incident at McGann Hospital in Shivamogga has again brought into focus the careless attitude of hospital staff in terms of patient care in district hospitals. This is not the first time government hospitals have come under the scanner.

Last month, a man had to ride pillion on a bike with the body of his three-year-old son when he could not get a vehicle at the Anekal General Hospital. In October 2016, a woman gave birth on the road after she was refused admission in the the taluk hospital in Aurad, Bidar district.

While these incidents highlight the indifference shown by hospital staff towards patients, sources said there was no accountability as most of the Group D and other paramedical staff in several district hospitals are outsourced.

Apart from manpower shortage, administrative heads not being given the autonomy to take decisions — even if it pertains to minor purchases such as wheelchairs and stretchers using Arogya Raksha Samithi fund — are to be blamed for the situation, sources said.

 Although all district hospitals are autonomous institutions, the hospital head has to take the approval of the governing council to use the Arogya Raksha Samithi funds (collected through patients’ user fee). “This fund is meant to be used for small purchases such as essential medicines, wheelchairs and other minor paraphernalia. But with the rules saying that the fund has to be used for hospital development, the hospital heads have to take the approval of the governing council. Hence, there is usually a delay in attending to minor issues,” said a senior government doctor.

Medical Education Minister Sharanprakash R. Patil said in emergencies the doctors have been told to go ahead with minor purchases, pending approval. He said McGann Hospital had adequate number of wheelchairs and stretchers. “However, I have sought an explanation from the hospital director and he has initiated action against four employees,” he said.

Hospital director B.V. Sushil Kumar said the patient was asked to wait for sometime as the staff member was attending to another patient. The patient was sent to the scanning room as doctors had advised a CT renal scan and ECG on May 31.

After the tests were done, his wife Famida (65) dragged him as he was denied a wheelchair, alleged Fouziya Begum, the patient’s daughter-in-law. The patient has suffered an abrasion wound on the elbow in the incident, she said.

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