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Patients battle filth, hostility in Delhi's LNJP hospital

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 Piyush Trivedi
It seems that the poor patient is the last priority at Delhi's LNJP hospital and systems are designed only to harass the patient who does not have any clout.

A visit to the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan hospital in the heart of Delhi reveals the sorry state of affairs that prevails here. The hundreds of patients who come here everyday are a harassed lot. There is filth and muck which can be seen everywhere.

Even in the emergency ward, the waste basket was full-to-overflowing and one could see needles and syringes lying on the floor on which anyone could step. It may be noted that even HIV-positive patients were there in this ward, thus exposing other visitors and patients to this dreaded disease.

The patients and their attendants were complaining of the total confusion everywhere, with no one to guide them. Inexplicably, one has to go to the sixth floor of the hospital to get the medicines, which is a challenge for those who are old or infirm. At the counter for getting medicine, there is a huge rush, no queues and no discipline. So, the old and the infirm are again at a huge disadvantage here and have to often return home without getting the needed medicine.

It is inexplicable why this Delhi government run hospital does not have sufficient wheelchairs or stretchers. The wife of an HIV-positive patient, who also had TB, told this correspondent that she had to purchase a wheelchair from outside the hospital for a sum of Rupees three thousand, since the hospital did not have a wheelchair.

This lack of the basic necessities in the hospital has created a business opportunity for shopkeepers who are having bumper sales just outside the hospital. These private businessmen have an interest in the Delhi-government hospital not having any basics that are needed by the patients and in making it very difficult for patients to access even the medicines by locating the counters as far away as possible. Patients say that the lift is not operational at night. So, if they need medicine at night, they have to trudge up six flights of stairs. This looks like the mantra for boosting the sales of the shops outside the hospital.

In case a patient is not able to walk, the relatives face a very peculiar situation. Most of the counters and consultations are available upstairs and the patient has to be taken up by the lift. There is great paucity of stretchers. Even if the patient is somehow taken to the lift, the Lift-man refuses to take the patient upstairs if a nurse is not accompanying him. And, no nurse if available, or even in sight. It seems that the whole system is so designed to make it as difficult as possible for the patients so that they do not come to this hospital.

It is high time that the elected representatives should conduct a surprise inspection of this hospital, even by sending decoy customers, to understand the state of affairs that prevails in this hospital so that remedial action can be taken.

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