Hindu Rao: The inhospitable hospital

- August 31, 2023
| By : Muhammad Tahir |

Strikes, crumbling walls and ceilings as well as filth greet patients at MCD’s largest hospital

CANINE THREAT: Dogs are regular visitors at the Hindu Rao Hospital. Doctors have put the blame of patients’ relatives who feed the dogs

Though situated on a green and picturesque hilltop in north Delhi, the Hindu Rao Hospital is turning into a nightmare for both doctors and patients.

On August 20, a part of the roof plaster fell on the bed of a patient in ward No. 16. No injury was reported as there was no patient in the bed. On June 2 too, some tiles came off and fell on a doctor’s head in the critical care unit (CCU). He got injured and had to get stitches.

Crumbling infrastructure apart, lack of cleanliness, stench filling the air and stray dogs loitering around have left the patients and doctors at Municipal Corporation of Delhi’s largest hospital in distress.

“There is nothing in the name of sanitation, no ventilation. Rats roam in doctors’ rooms and no one listens [for the need to clean]. I joined three days ago but I am resigning now,” said a junior doctor, who wants to remain anonymous.

When Patriot visited the hospital on August 22, the situation was bad.

Just outside the entrance of Out Patient Department (OPD), two people were lying on the dirty floor with two dogs beside them.

A little ahead, towards the patients’ wards, the situation was equally miserable. Every corner was filled with gutka stains. There was unbearable stench and garbage lay in front of medical wards.

The incident in ward No. 16, on the fourth floor, took place due to the weakened structure of the building. The plaster had become wet due to water leakage, and needed immediate renovation.

ROUGH PATCH: The roof of ward No. 16, from where the plaster fell off. Thankfully, there were no patients due to the strike

Strike adds to problems

All wards were vacant due to the strike by doctors and other employees. Even the chair of the guard was vacant.

While the strike may have come as a blessing, helping avoid an accident by the falling plaster, it has caused inconvenience without a doubt.

The patients have been forcibly discharged from the hospital in the middle of treatment and at times, without any treatment.

Raj Kishor Pandey, 52, was managing an ambulance to shift his father to another hospital. His father, 89, was admitted to Hindu Rao Hospital for operation on his fracture last week.

EMPTY: The beds in the hospital were vacant due to strike at the time when Patriot visited

“He was discharged without operation. No doctor cared. I can’t afford treatment in private hospital, so I admitted him here but kaan pakad liye, yahaan nahi launga (I will never bring him here),” said the disappointed resident of Rohini to Patriot.

When asked about hospital sanitation, he replied, “Arre bhaiya, uski baat mat karo. Ulti ho jayegi (Don’t talk about it, brother. I will vomit).”

Small plants are growing in cracks on the buildings.

Another doctor complained on condition of anonymity, “Clean water and sanitation is a very big concern here. We complained and also protested six months ago. An invitation to tender was issued for it only recently. All the patients and staff have to buy water from outside.

“There is no proper air-conditioning in rooms leaving patients exposed to infection,” he concluded.

UNHYGIENIC: Garbage lying in the corridors of the hospital

Past incidents

The condition of the hospital has deteriorated gradually and there have been incidents prior to those this year.

In September last year, the parapet wall of an operation theatre collapsed and damaged three vehicles. In 2019, a ceiling fan at the paediatric emergency department of the hospital, fell twice.

The relative of an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patient, who has been to the hospital multiple times, said, “The toilet here is very dirty. My mother has got infected again. They do not care much. You can see it when you go to that side.”

She indicated towards the patients’ wards, where garbage was piled up in the open.

Another person, whose child was admitted due to typhoid and malaria, narrated the same story. She complained that the doctors provide only cheap medicines here and ask her to buy costly medicines from outside.

OFF-PUTTING: Corners of the hospitals have gutka stains

The security of doctors is also a concern. Recently, two ‘ward boys’ allegedly attacked a junior doctor and made Islamophobic comments at him, forcing them to go on strike the day Patriot visited the hospital.

The junior doctor said, “We live in fear. Anybody can attack us but the administration will punish the culprit only through a transfer to a different facility. It will increase attacks on us. We are not happy with this decision.”

In early February also, resident doctors went on a strike over the atmosphere in the hospital and problems such as sanitation and non-payment of salaries. They pointed out at the lack of clean water in hospitals.

“Rats, ticks and mosquitoes abound and mold infests duty doctors’ rooms,” the Resident Doctors Association (RDA) wrote in a letter that time.

Patriot also tried to contact Dr Sanjay, who was injured two months ago in the hospital. He did not respond to calls. A source said Dr Sanjay has not filed any complaint.

Authorities unfazed

When Patriot met Dr Mukesh Kumar, Medical Superintendent of Hindu Rao Hospital, and apprised him of the situation, he said, “Renovation work is going on. We are trying to sort out this situation.”

When asked about sanitation, he replied, “There is regular cleaning, our MTS (Multi-Tasking Staff) workers are working and we do daily rounds to check. The issue of strike will be addressed soon and the hospital will be up and running soon.”

He blamed patients’ relatives for pandering to dogs.

“Relatives of patients give food to dogs, which is why they are seen loitering here.”

A lady doctor, who is part of the hospital administration, also accepted lack of cleaning and sanitation as serious problem.

Patriot tried to talk to MCD officials about the matter. However, they did not respond to questions.