The Government Children’s Hospital is a sought-after institution, as it is the only State-run referral centre for children run. But this is proving burdensome for the institution, as several families from outside the city reside on its premises while a relative undergoes treatment, leading to garbage and sanitary problems.

A board on a in the shed near the director’s office states that visitors of patients from out-of-town can rest there. Patient attendants stay in the sheds near the director’s office, while the child receives treatment.

R. Jayanthi from Mayiladuthurai arrived here 12 days ago. Her 18-month-old child is being treatment for a congenital anomaly. “The police are chasing away people saying that a patient can have only one attendant. Sometimes I am with my daughter and I need my husband to run errands like fetching milk or buying food,” she said. “One evening last week, I was resting in the shed and a drunkard I had spotted sleeping on one of the benches walked up to me, and grabbed my chain. I kicked him and raised an alarm. The other people beat him and chased him away,” she added.

Raja Bhoopathy from Vadalur is also here to assist his daughter, whose 45-day-old baby is being treated for a spinal cord tumour. The baby was born in a private hospital in Porur, but the family did not have money to pursue treatment there. “Doctors said the surgery would cost Rs. 2 lakh, and even then, only 50 per cent of the problem can be corrected. Another surgery would be done when she is old enough. My daughter needs healthy, home-cooked food. I go every morning to Iyyapaanthangal and bring her food. If I am here, she can call me for help.”

Mythili, who is from Minjur, sleeps on the hospital corridor in the night. During the day, she sits in the shed while her seven-year-old grandson is cared for by her daughter. “We have managed somehow. He will be discharged next week,” she said.

Though hospital sanitary workers clean the premises twice a day, houseflies, mosquitoes and rats are a menace. Throwing away leftovers and defecating in the yard have resulted in a stench permeating the visitor’s shed. The hospital has put up boards in several places along the stairway of the nine-storey block warning of a fine of Rs. 500 for public defecation.

Outside the hospital, silt removed from the sewage system on the road was left unattended for several days last week.

The compound wall of the hospital is also used as a public urinal. The hospital is close to Chetpet, where, for the past 10 days diarrhoea and some cases of cholera have been reported.

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