Lack of doctors & staff: Mumbai’s Rajawadi Hospital struggles with emergency services

The hospital had been alerted by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) at 4.30 am that casualties from the two big rain related incidents would be sent there.

Rajawadi Hospital in Ghatkopar East, where most of the injured from the landslide at Vashi Naka and Vikhroli house collapse were taken, was quite ill-prepared for the emergency.

The hospital had been alerted by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) at 4.30 am that casualties from the two big rain related incidents would be sent there.

Most of the bodies from these mishaps were brought to the hospital. As there were also some cases of deaths caused by electrocution at one of the wall collapse sites, the BMC decided that post mortem should be conducted on all bodies.

However, as the hospital did not have enough place to keep the bodies, they were kept in a tin shed meant for keeping cement bags for the hospital building’s renovation.

In the casualty wing, where most injured were taken, there was just one orthopaedic registrar and a resident doctor, along with eight nurses and a few ward boys, to attend to the injured.

The injured had to wait for treatment and x-ray. The Indian Express was present in the casualty wing when the victims were brought in. The Mumbai Fire Brigade stationed an assistant divisional fire officer to keep a tab on the victims and send updates to the control room.

When a victim complained of a throbbing pain in her head, only a ward boy attended to her as there was insufficient number of physicians.

A senior official of the hospital said they are in the process of constructing a new emergency medical services department. “We had a lot of bodies coming in. We have admitted only three patients and they are stable. Three had minor injuries and they were discharged. One of them did not want to stay in the hospital. We had patients from three major incidents coming together,’’ said Dr Vidya Thakur, medical superintendent of Rajawadi Hospital. She said Senior Medical Officer Dr Sachin Payyanvar attended to the patients.

Prakash Wani, a Shiv Sainik and a member of the hospital vigilance committee, said, “Rajawadi needs more staffers and doctors and a much better emergency infrastructure to tackle such situations. It is the only major hospital in eastern suburbs.”

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