R. Sujatha

Lack of doctors is only adding to its problems

Accident victims routinely referred to Government General Hospital GGH considered the only hospital to handle emergencies

CHENNAI: On Wednesday night, a middle-aged two-wheeler rider with head injuries sustained in a road accident at Chintamani in Anna Nagar was rushed to the Kilpauk Medical Hospital. Attendants there simply taped the wound with gauze and referred the patient to the Government General Hospital.

Around 11 p.m. he was brought to the casualty ward of GGH, unconscious and bleeding through the nose. Over a dozen men, who accompanied the victim, stood by helpless as the doctor filled out the necessary slips before the patient could be wheeled away for scan and X-ray.

The man had been knocked down from his two-wheeler around 10 p.m.

Doctors, time and again, point out that patients must receive treatment during the `Golden hour' within an hour of an accident. However, except for the GGH, other government hospitals' casualty wards are well staffed.

Still, patients are referred to the Government General Hospital, claiming that only it is equipped to handle such emergencies.

Often, patients are brought to GGH from Chengalpet and Chromepet, besides from government hospitals in Kilpauk, Mint (Stanley Hospital) and Royapettah.

Thus not only is the GGH overburdened but the victim's recovery is also in jeopardy. Adding to GGH's burden is the lack of doctors.

For many months, the casualty department functioned with just three Casualty Medical Officers. At times they worked for over 24 hours without a break when their reliever fell ill.

A few days ago, two doctors were absorbed. Though they are not authorised to sign the accident registry they can check the patients and advice on procedures.

Some small relief for the CMOs.

Senior doctors and academics wonder how interns and doctors at hospitals that forward the cases to GGH will learn to handle head injury cases.