Seeks Forest Department help to plant 1,000 saplings urgently

The 207-bed Government Hospital for Thoracic Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Thoppur near here is in desperate need of a ‘green cover’ to provide patients with cool, especially those undergoing treatment for chickenpox.

Since the 115-acre campus is devoid of any trees, hospital authorities have sought the help of the Forest Department to plant at least 1,000 saplings urgently in order that the in-patient wards could enjoy some shade and breeze.

Inaugurated in 1962 by the then Chief Minister, the late K. Kamaraj, the Thoppur facility, also known as Austinpatti hospital, is an exclusive wing of the Government Rajaji Hospital that handles infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, chickenpox and cholera. It is seeking donors’ support to get more facilities though special funds have been allotted by the State government.

The infectious diseases wards have around 170 in-patients on any given day and most of them require a long stay for the treatment.

“A couple of months back, we got 500 saplings from the Forest Department. It was not adequate and we have sought another 1,000 saplings so that in two or three years, the campus will be cool and give comfort to the chickenpox patients who cannot tolerate heat,” S.Gandhimathinathan, Resident Medical Officer of Thoppur Hospital, told The Hindu on Wednesday.

Thoppur Hospital is the only sanatorium available for tuberculosis patients in the southern districts. Steps are being taken to open an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for the TB patients.

N. Mohan, Dean, Government Rajaji Hospital, said that there was a need to take care of emergency cases. A well-equipped ward with ventilator facility had been planned to treat those with acute tuberculosis.

“We are paying attention to the Thoppur Hospital. Modern kitchen, renovated toilets and bus transport have been taken care of. Another requirement is fencing for the hospital which lacks a compound wall. Starting a small library for the benefit of patients’ attendants, who sit idle for hours together, is under consideration,” the Dean said.

Meanwhile, the district unit of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Wednesday donated a 100-litre capacity R.O. plant to provide protected drinking water for patients. It presented 50 pillows and 50 mats to the hospital to commemorate the 150th year of the jayanthi celebrations of Swami Vivekananda.

Chinmaya Somasundaram, Madurai district president, VHP, told reporters that helping the hospital was the best way of celebrating the birth anniversary of the Hindu monk.

Dr.Gandhimathinathan said that there were 142 in-patients in the TB ward on Wednesday and several of them were in the middle-age group. Those with severe TB must stay in the hospital and take treatment for at least two months.

Patients with pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and other chest disorders were also undergoing treatment at the hospital, he said.

A sum of Rs.40 lakh had been sought from the Directorate of Medical Education to improve the drainage facility and construct overhead water tanks on the campus.

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