Our next visit was the Egmore Children’s Hospital. Being a sunday , the Hospital in the literal sense was completely deserted. We were totally lost and the person we were to meet was not picking up her phone. After looking thro’ half the hospital and failing to locate her. Dr. Kala , the person who were to meet called us back and said she would send someone to bring us to her. She apologized and said she was on rounds. The Hospital as we saw it and to it’s name was only and only a CHILDREN hospital. We waited a while for Dr. Kala to come. Once she came , she enquired about us and where we are from and what we would like to do. Once we cleared out her doubts , she took us around the hospital where we saw the various wards and a few doctors who were working that sunday.
There was one section that disturbed me the most. That was the IMCU section [ Intensive Medical Care Unit ] They were babies who were bandaged , who had oxygen masks to their face. Their was one child who s head was burnt. I could not bare to look or stand in that place a second longer but i could not run away either. In another ward, I saw one child who had orthopedic problem. Both his legs were bandaged. He bawled when his father left him. I could not stand to see that as the mother was not able to manage him and due to his legs was shifting him very gingerly.
I went upto him and sat beside him holding out my hand. He did nothing but just stared at me, his tears stopped. He was scared. But i didnt move. His mother kept his hand on mine twice but he kept taking it away. I still sat and watched him. He looked up at me , this time not scared but not coming close either. When i said bye to him , that was the first time he smiled at me and waved back. I felt happy he was alright. 🙂 🙂 🙂
Harshitha & I learned during the tour of the hospital that they required man power for cleaning up the hospital as all the cleaners had retired and it was kept neat by the nurses [ mind you , it was fairly neat ]. They also required several monitors , infusion pumps , beds again etc… Harshitha & I were again at a loss of what to say and do. But we told me them what we were capable and will get back to them.
We left the hospital. I was totally off with what i saw in the IMCU. I would love to visit that hospital again , this time when all the doctors are there and learn more about it.
While at the Chengelpet Government Hospital , i badly wanted to talk to one of the mothers. When i sought out the first mother , i found out from the father that the child had caught on jaundice. She looked so tensed and worried that i decided against it. It was then i saw another mother in the Mothers Room with her baby. She looked happy, relaxed and peaceful. So i went to talk to her. She was very happy to talk to me, which made things a little easier for me.
The Mother s Name was Thenmozhi. She had delivered her second child on the 8th or 9th of May. It was a girl baby. She already has an elder daughter who s 5 years old. Her name is Deepika. She told me she was very happy with the hospital and the way it treated her. She was also happy and grateful for the immediate admission and the help they gave her the night before her labour. She told me that they gave her her medicines at the right time. Food was chapati and daal and that too was given at proper and prompt timings. They gave liquid for the evenings and also kept 2 packets of biscuits which she could eat anytime. So there was no problem with the food and medicines part of it. I asked if her husband was happy with 2 daughters. To my surprise she told me he was very happy.
She later told me that she wanted to do her operation so as to not have any kids anymore. But her child had got jaundice a few hours after she was born when she and her child were given a health check up . The doctor had informed her that she was healthy but her child had yellow fever. She was also told to go on with her operation but Thenmozhi went against it and told the doctor she would not do her operation unless and until her new born was healthy and alright. The baby was kept in the ventilator for 3 days. The doctor told Thenmozhi that the baby was fine and it was better to keep her here another day and give another check up. So once that s done , she would do her operation. Thenmozhi was waiting for the operation to be done and for the information of when they would discharge her.
Thenmozhi’s love for her child was apparent and i was glad she had her families support for girl babies. I felt happy and relaxed as i left her. It was then i realized that Government Hospitals are not as bad as i thought they were. That was Thenmozhi’s story.
For my first week’s field visit , along with Harshitha , we went to Chengelpet to the visit the Goverment Hospital. We were to meet Dr. Satya who was incharge of the Maternity Ward. It took us a while to get around the hospital and find the place and the doctor. We were asked to wait for a while. As we waited , Harshitha and I saw that there were many babies who were really tiny and really underweight. I could not bear to look at some of them. I also noticed that the Mothers Room was bare of furniture and that they were on the floor along with their children … some even out on the corridor with the families. The new borns were kept on the ventilators for warming and in some ventilators were 3 – 4 babies. While we were there the power had gone out twice and the generator found it hard to support the entire hospital and the ventilators kept fluctuating. The suddenly horrible thought flashed across my mind that something might happen to the babies as the atmosphere in the room was already a little tense.
Mean while , the doctor had become busy and asked us to go around the hospital to take a look around. We noticed that in every ward , either there was a lack in the number of beds or the beds were empty [ which got me furious when i thought about the mothers ]. The waste disposal was a terrible condition. They did not have proper bins to throw waste and it was all in buckets , which were hardly taken out. This obviously means they did not have a proper place to dump the trash. The floors were wet with water. There were some sections of the hospital which smelled as the toilets had not been cleaned. The amount of constant cleaning work which came about frustrated the staff. Everyone was so busy that there was hardly time for them to talk to us. This lead to many parents thinking Harshitha & I were doctors and kept coming to us.
Family members were not left into the mother s ward which got them more anxious than they already were. They tried to get in with Harshitha & I as an excuse. We both were stunned and were at loss of words. When we went back to the doctor and asked what kind of requirements does she personally feel the hospital needs. As expected , the requirements were everything we saw [ beds , waste bins , cleaning equipment , generators etc… ]. Dr. Satya also took us to the new building which was being constructed for mothers and babies and surgical. The place was big and spacious but i was wondering how well would they use that space.
With all that done , we ended our day and left the hospital. The pitiable condition of the babies disturbed me. The place brought a lot of thoughts to my head. I wanted to see more , explore more and talk more. But this was all i could do for now. I hope my next visit brings a better result.