Chennai

Hospital services severely affected

Ambulance drivers had a tough time negotiating many stretches —Photo: R. Ravindran

Ambulance drivers had a tough time negotiating many stretches —Photo: R. Ravindran  

With the rain showing no signs of letting up, some hospitals on Tuesday allowed staff to leave early to get home safe, while at others, employees found it difficult to come in to work as their houses were flooded.

R. Marimuthu, a staff nurse at a government hospital, was stranded in his home in East Tambaram, with water completely inundating the premises. “I just about managed to get out with my certificates and I’m taking shelter at a nearby school,” he said.

His wife, also a nurse, managed to get to work at Egmore as she was on a morning shift when the rains were not very heavy, but is now stuck at Pallavaram, unable to make it home as the trains have stopped, he said. “I don’t know how she is going to come back,” he added.

While most hospitals have been functioning normally with both outpatient and inpatient services carrying on, extra measures have been taken to ensure safety. At Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, some staff members were allowed to leave early as rain battered the city throughout the day. However, emergency services were fully staffed, a senior official said. Some doctors at Global Hospitals too, left a little early, as did non-essential staff at Apollo Hospitals. At Government Kilpauk Medical College, which is waterlogged, motors are operating to pump water out, said dean Narayana Babu.

“We have buses for our nurses and have told our junior doctors that they can stay on in the hostels if necessary. Food supplies and clothes will be provided. For doctors who are required to come to the hospital in the night, we have arranged for them to use our ambulances,” said N. Sathyabhama, director of medical services at Apollo Hospitals.

Ambulance drivers have been hit hard as the damaged roads made tough going.

“While the traffic is not too bad as very few people are driving, the condition of the roads is making it very difficult. We take 40 minutes to get to a destination that normally takes about 20,” one employee of the 108 ambulance service said. In some parts such as Meenambakkam however, traffic pile-ups continued into the late afternoon leading to delays, another employee said.

The 108 ambulance service has been inundated with flood-related calls and are collaborating in rescues along with other services, said B. Prabhudoss, head, marketing and hospital relations, GVK EMRI, which operates the service.

“We have allotted five additional ambulances for Tambaram for flood rescues. Pregnant women are our priority and we have shifted many of them. We have received at least 1,000 additional calls over and above our usual calls on Tuesday,” he said.



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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 3:53:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/hospital-services-severely-affected/article7943317.ece

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