Nursing the sick for over 30 years

COMMITTED TO HER JOB: Nurse V. Banumathi of K.G. Hospital, Chennai. — Photo: K. Pichumani

COMMITTED TO HER JOB: Nurse V. Banumathi of K.G. Hospital, Chennai. — Photo: K. Pichumani  

R. Sujatha

CHENNAI: Her friends and colleagues at the Government Kasturba Gandhi Hospital for Women and Children (KGH) in Triplicane say she refused promotions so that she could be in the same department.

Staff nurse V. Banumathi wants to be with the patients, like her doctor and boss. The hospital recognised Banumathi's services with a certificate of appreciation. This is her third such award.

Ms. Banumathi has been at the KGH for almost 30 years. "I don't know how many patients I have attended to."

Fifteen years in the labour ward and 12 years in urology , she proved to be an able assistant to M. Rajamaheswari, head of the Urology and Urogynaecology department.

The urology ward, with 30 patients, has one nurse and a doctor.A native of Mannargudi, Ms. Banumathi came to Chennai with her elder brother hoping to study medicine. Instead, she settled for a diploma in nursing at the Government General Hospital.

After a one-year stint at the Tirukkovilur Government Hospital , she moved to the KGH in Chennai.

The fistula ward, set up sometime ago at the hospital, treats women with bladder ailments. Some of the patients are in their teens. There are also other road accident victims, she says. "Sometimes fistula patients do not have money to buy food let alone take care of themselves. Some come to us with an irreparable fistula. We send such patients to orphanages and help them till the end."

Rani, from Andhra Pradesh, came with congenital incontinence. After being treated in Government General Hospital, her parents got her married without revealing her health condition. Her husband and family abandoned her. "She came to us when she was 35. She was with us for 11 years.

We sent her to an orphanage in Perungudi and took care of her until she died."

Banumathi is due for retirement in two years. She feels nurses' involvement with patients has come down over the years. "We are unable to give nursing care because of the increase in population."

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