Complicated, unviable cases being pushed to Gandhi, Niloufer and OGH

Tertiary public health institutions in the city have literally become ‘dumping yards’ for private hospitals, nursing homes and corporate hospitals.

The latter have been conveniently pushing complicated cases to tertiary institutions, as soon as they are found financially and technically unviable, a study by civil society group Health Watch revealed.

In a report submitted to Principal Secretary, Health, L.V. Subramanyam on Monday, the group also said tertiary hospitals were forced to cater to double their capacity, as primary and secondary healthcare in the districts had deteriorated.

For instance, Gandhi Hospital on an average receives 100 new cases daily, of which 20 would be either unknown or unwanted. Of them, eight to 10 would be of orthopaedic nature with serious injuries, details of which would not be known as they get admitted by passers-by.

Osmania General Hospital, on the other hand, gets 100 neurosurgery cases per day, which is equivalent to all the cases put together in the city’s hospitals.

Most referral cases to Niloufer Hospital are of burns, low birth-weight, premature babies, or with complications such as asphyxia, jaundice, meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis, some of which come at critical stage.

Precious time is lost in referral, but when there are deaths, Niloufer Hospital is blamed.

Though many babies die due to short-supply of medicines and the lack of separate ward for premature babies, no questions are raised owing to parents’ poverty, the report noted.

The three tertiary hospitals experience patient overload, as they cater to people from outside the State too. Yet, they function amid many problems including lack of funds, manpower, equipment, technical support, basic amenities, and safety.

The report also pointed to lack of equipment and diagnostic facilities in all the hospitals. Only one CT scan machine has been operational at the OGH for the last 15 years, and not one ventilator is functional in the Emergency ward.

At Gandhi Hospital, only four ventilators out of nine were functional, while at Niloufer, only four of 20 worked, to cater to a total of 150 babies.

The study was conducted by a team of ‘concerned citizens’ that included senior neurosurgeon Raja Reddy and University of Hyderabad professor Purendra Prasad, among others. The team visited Gandhi Hospital and OGH on July 19, 2012 and Niloufer Hospital on August 18, 2012.

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