What is ailing Belagavi Institute of Medical Sciences

The District Hospital that doubles as the teaching hospital of BIMS in Belagavi.  

Some leaders have complained against Belagavi Institute of Medical Sciences, the Government Medical College set up in the city 16 years ago, saying that it was not treating COVID-19 patients properly.

Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi inspected the hospital last week and said that doctors and staff are being negligent of their duties. He described the hospital as a cow shed with bodies kept along with patients in treatment. He accused the doctors and staff of causing the most number of deaths due to their negligence and said that officers in-charge of administration were not doing their job.

Deputy Chief Minister and district in-charge Govind Karjol, meanwhile, said that he too received several complaints from the public about the hospital. He asked Deputy Commissioner M.G. Hiremath to take strict action against erring doctors and staff.

Following this, the State government sent BIMS Director Vinay Dastikopp on one month leave. The government also changed the responsibilities of a doctor in charge of the mortuary and transferred seven nurses.

Officers, doctors and nurses working in the college and the attached hospital say that their problems are deeper and need systemic solutions.

“We have submitted a memorandum containing details of our problems and demands to Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa when he visited Belagavi on Friday,” according to BIMS Teachers Association Eeranna Palled.

BIMS was among the seven government medical colleges started by the Dharam Singh government in 2005. Of them, some of the colleges have been developed by the government and others have been neglected, said an officer of the Medical Education Department.

“None of the colleges had their own teaching hospital when they were started 16 years ago. All the colleges were started with temporary permission from the Medical Council of India, by attaching the district hospital with the college. Of them, only three have buildings. Work on two has started. But in Belagavi, despite the State government giving administrative approval for a hospital building, work is yet to start,’’ he said.

The Belagavi District Hospital, called Civil Hospital, to differentiate it with the Military Hospital that is nearby, is in a building of vintage value. It was built by the British in 1859. The stone building is sturdy, but the roof leaks in some places. A few months ago, doctors spent a sleepless night shifting COVID-19 patients from one ward to another, after it started leaking when it rained.

The other problem with the hospital is staffing. It has long standing vacancies of 76 expert doctors. “Our pleas to fill these vacancies have fallen on deaf ears,” said a senior doctor.

The State government announced five years ago that the intake of students in the college will be increased to 150. This meant that the number of teachers should have increased from 740 to 1,150. The government increased admissions, but it did not increase the number of teachers. “How are we supposed to do justice to our job?” asked a teacher.

Belagavi has got a raw deal in the evolution of the college into a post-graduate centre, said another professor. Post-graduate courses were started in four colleges — Gadag, Hassan, Mandya and Shivamogga. The Gadag college offers post-graduate courses in 16 departments while the Hassan college officers 14 post-graduate courses. There are post-graduate courses in Mandya and Shivamogga. But the colleges in Belagavi, Bidar and Kalaburagi are yet to start post-graduate courses in clinical courses.

“This affects our health care efforts as post-graduate students are tasked with primary care and routine treatment methods in hospitals. Due to the lack of this manpower, senior doctors are supposed to manage the 1,040 in-patients and the over 7,000 out-patients who visit the hospital everyday. That is a huge burden on the 500 doctors in clinical departments. Moreover, the hospital does not have enough full-time nurses and other para-clinical staff. Most of them are on contract. With such problems, there are bound to be errors in treating a large number of patients. They are visible during health emergencies such as COVID-19. All the good work we have done goes unnoticed, sadly,” said an administrator.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2021 3:29:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/what-is-ailing-belagavi-institute-of-medical-sciences/article34744835.ece

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