Residents protest poor facilities; health dept. staff review situation

Dozens of residents and CPI (M) members staged a road blockade in front of K.K. Nagar Peripheral Hospital on Tuesday, protesting the poor state of the institute.

The police arrested all the protesters, but released them later in the evening. However, the protest was a wake-up call for health department officials, who visited the hospital later in the morning to take stock of the situation.

The hospital, originally located on 10.84 acres at the junction of Jawaharlal Nehru Road and Anna Road, has lost five acres to a slum and a private housing colony.

Around 1,000 patients come every day, but surgeries have been suspended as the operation theatre is being renovated. An anaesthetist has been appointed but not surgeons or physicians.

To maintain electricity during the two-hour power cut, doctors said they used their own money. Outpatient clinics for dentistry, ophthalmology and orthopaedics are held, but for surgeries, patients are referred to Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital or Government Royapettah Hospital.

Avudaiammal (60) from Vilangudi in Madurai district, was admitted to the peripheral hospital a week ago, for pain in her right leg. “Doctors sent me for physiotherapy to the rehabilitation medicine hospital across the road. They have now advised surgery as there was no improvement,” she said, showing a doctor’s prescription referring her to GRH/GH for total knee replacement surgery.

“Every day, we get 10 medico legal cases (MLCs) here. We have been allotted an ambulance by EMRI 108 and it is used to stabilise the patients before shifting them to a bigger hospital,” a senior doctor said.

There are 12 doctors, seven of them women, and none of them is happy with the work atmosphere. They live in constant fear of being attacked, a doctor said, as patients complain of poor service and then target doctors.

The vast open areas outside the building are littered with plastic and garbage.

“In the evenings, slum dwellers drink and litter the hospital yard,” said a hospital official. “We want a police outpost here,” she added.

“As patients who earn less than Rs. 15,000 a month cannot seek treatment in ESIC hospital they have to come here but we cannot offer them much help,” said a specialist.

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