BHAKTAPUR, July 18: It is the country's second oldest hospital and, as its age, is frail and lacks the required facilities. This is the story of the Bhaktapur Hospital, the second oldest hospital after the Bir Hospital in Kathmandu. Bhaktapur Hospital is 113 years old.
Equipments worth millions of rupees which have been brought for operating the ICU at Bhaktapur Hospital are lying dumped for a year now.
Doctors at the hospital have been making remarks that operations, from general to complicated, at the hospital are done at god's mercy, for lack of an ICU. The hospital came into being as 'Chandralok Dispensary' in 1961 BS. It was established as the central hospital by the then Rana Prime Minister Chandra Shamsher.
Various operations are done at the hospital including removing kidney stones without even an ICU. Most operations are related to obstetrics.
Generally, a patient is kept in the ICU first after undergoing an operation and then transferred to the post-operative ward. But this rule is skipped at Bhaktapur Hospital for lack of an ICU. The patients are directly kept in the post-operative ward straight from the operating table.
The condition of the post-operative ward, too, is not sound. It lacks the modern facilities. "Even complex operations for gynecological and obstetrical cases are treated in the most normal manner for lack of ICU," said gynecologist Dr Jamuna Kiran Poudel.
She said that they were compelled to carry out operation even in critical cases whether that is of removing tumour or delivery through caesarean section, leaving everything to chance.
Dr Poudel said, "We carry out 18 operations for gyno-related problems and delivery cases on a single day. But there is no post-operative ward to keep the patients after surgery. They have to refer patients, who need to be kept in Incentive Care Unit, to other hospitals in lack of operation of ICU at the hospital."
A nurse said that there is also a risk of increasing infection to patients due to compulsion of keeping patients at general wards after surgery.
Doctors and nurses are also worried like the patients after the surgery in lack of minimum required infrastructures needed for the patients.
The Hospital Administration has been turning a deaf ear to the demand of doctors and nurses to run post-operative unit until the operation of ICU.
Former Chairman of the Hospital, Nabaraj Gelal, expressed worry for not bringing the ICU into operation as all required equipments were brought to run the five-bed ICU at his initiative.
The travesty is that there is a situation to depend on a single bulb or a mobile phone set (when the generator is not operational) to mange lights for the gynecological surgery and Caesarean delivery, doctors report.
Hospital's anesthetist Dr Sarita Shrestha shared that the hospital had even failed to manage ambulance facility for patients. Likewise no vehicle facility to pick up and drop night staff has caused them a lot of problems.
The hospital is not in the condition of utslise its potential strength and expand services due to poor infrastructure, according to her.
Grievances regarding the non cooperation from the administration chief and matrons have been reported. A doctor said that even nursing in-charges residing in the hospital quarter did not feel necessary to help during the arrival of emergency cases of surgery at night. "The mobile phone of the administration chief remains switched off in the need of any help from the administration in such cases."
The hospital is running on an ad-hoc basis, it is said.
The unavailability of an ambulance in the hospital has hit patients hard who are referred to other health facilities mainly in night time.
A doctor shared that surgery ward staff carry out their duty, bearing a risk and praying for the mercy of the God for the life of patient.
However, hospital medical superintendent Dr Sudha Devkota, challenging complaints of surgery ward staff claimed the lack of an ICU unit had not much affected in the treatment of patients. People in need of ICU care are referred to other hospitals, she added.
Admitting that equipments brought for the operation of ICU unit have not been installed yet, Dr Devkota blamed a lack of sufficient human resources for so. According to her, the Health Ministry was already informed about it and was asked to manage required human resources. RSS