Doctors performing a surgery at the Rolpa District Hospital in this recent picture. Photo: Republica
ROLPA, Aug 18: When she heard that the baby in her womb is having difficulty to breathe and needed to be delivered without delay, Junukumari Budha lost all hopes. Everything looked dark to her before she was waiting for the C-section at the Rolpa District Hospital. Some moments earlier, doctors had noted that she was brought to the hospital late and there were complications. On top of that, the hospital did not have modern technologies and resources. Because of the complexities, the hospital was not sure of saving the baby and the mother. However, not doing surgery would not leave them risk-free either.
Budha’s husband then pleaded doctors to go for surgery anyway and try to save lives. A team of Dr Prakash Budha and Anil KC got ready. No sooner than the doctors had started the operation, lights went off. The generator was started instantly, but a broken wire brought it to a halt. There was no emergency light around. Worried doctors and nurses then turned on the flashlight of their mobile phones and continued the surgery.
“It was a complicated case. There was almost no life in baby, the heartbeat could not be heard,” said Dr KC. “We then tried to bring back the baby by giving artificial breathing,” he added.
Using the light of their mobile, the team completed the surgery successfully. Both the mother and the baby were saved.
“This is not the first time we have done an operation using mobile flashlights. Electricity is not stable here. And even though we have a generator, it does not function properly,” lamented Dr KC.
Just a week ago, another similar case was handled by the team. According to Dr KC, saving mother and baby was equally challenging even at that time. “We did that somehow.”
Those who come to the district hospital for a delivery case are often from low-income families. Well-off people do not like to take the risk. According to Dr KC, no matter how able they are, lack of modern equipment and resources make them refer complicated cases elsewhere. “But most often, they cannot go anywhere even if they want. Money matters; and people are poor here. Those who are rich airlift patients to better health facilities,” said Dr KC.
And more often than not, doctors and nurses themselves have to get ready to give blood too. There is no blood bank nearby and in case of emergency, either they should let the patient die or save a life by donating their blood. “If nobody’s blood group matches, we have to say sorry to patients, or else, we try to save life at any cost,” Dr KC reported.
Dr KC himself and Dr Budha have given blood to patients many times. Similarly, nurses, too, have given blood to patients. Even in the case of Junukumari, the doctor had to give blood. Dr KC donated blood for her.
“Her blood was A positive. We tested the blood of her family members and others, but nobody’s blood matched. Then I had to give it,” said Dr KC.
According to Dr Budha, the biggest problem in the hospital is that of blood. Patients are bound to die just because of the lack of blood.
“This is a very remote zone. It is not possible to manage blood around here,” said Dr Budha. “There is a lack of resources, staffs, doctors, nurses at the hospital. The hospital does not have facilities for even those who ware working here,” he added.
The hospital administration lamented about the government’s indifference towards such a remote hospital. While hundreds of people seek service from it, it even lacks beds and rooms.
“We are not talking about lavish facilities, the government has not even provided minimum facilities for the hospital,” said Dr Budha.
Mayor of Rolpa Municipality, Purna KC assured that his office was mulling on adding some facilities to the hospital. “Installing a new generator at the hospital is our top priority. If the provincial government does not initiate the process to buy a generator, we are going to take some step,” he said. “We have allocated a budget for it, but we are waiting to see if the provincial government keeps its promise.”