Just three doctors for 300 patients who seek service on a daily basis
SINDHULI, Aug 19: Kiran Shrestha of Kamalamai Municipality reached Sindhuli District Hospital with his ill son early morning on Sunday. After staying in the queue for hours, he got a ticket which would allow him to meet the doctor. He was supposed to meet a doctor in the pediatric section. But there was no doctor in the room. "I was told that there are no doctors in the hospital. All have left," he lamented.
The 50-bed district hospital is in a severe crisis. As many as 57 doctors and staffers have left the hospital following the implementation of the Civil Servants Adjustment Act 2017. And other employees have not joined the hospital yet to fill the vacancy.
"I stayed in the queue for over three hours with my ill son. But then I could not meet the children's doctor," said Shrestha. "This is a hospital where people come for treatment but the situation is so messy that a healthy person might fall sick instead," he added.
After failing to meet any doctor at the pediatric section, Shrestha waited for few more hours to get his son checked up by another doctor. But since he was not a pediatrician, Shrestha got confused whether to follow his instructions.
"There was no choice than to take him to another doctor. But I couldn't be confident about his suggestions," Shrestha said.
The chaos at the hospital was apparent on Sunday. The lack of doctors and staffers had fallen hard on patients. But there was hardly any place for them to vent their anger. "Who to talk to? Almost all rooms were closed," Shrestha lamented.
"There are only three doctors now. Others got transferred," informed Praladh Pokharel, president of the hospital development committee.
Pokharel stated that the hospital is no more like a hospital anymore. The flow of patients has not slowed down but the hospital service has almost come to a halt.
"If those who have taken transfers to this hospital had joined immediately, we could have managed things better," said Pokharel adding that hundreds of patients have been affected due to the changes.
As per the hospital records, over 300 patients seek service from the hospital on a daily basis. Many come for follow-up visits and not getting to meet the desired doctor simply adds to their health risks.
"Patients say that they need to see a particular doctor as it's their follow-up visit. But we don't have any answer for them," said Pokharel. "It is understandable that they will be in trouble now."
According to the chief of the hospital, Sumitra Guatam, the service seekers have warned of protests. "But there is nothing the hospital can do right now. We are helpless. Doctors and other staffers left for their new postings," she said. "The government must be sensitive toward the health sector and do something to address the problem," she added.