Need an operation? Just wait till Monday

November 17, 2011

Patients at Bowring Hospital’s orthopaedic unit II are normally operated upon on Mondays. But with the last two Mondays being holidays, Bhupathi Kumar is in for a long wait.

Bhupathi Kumar was given a bed only after a human rights body stepped in

Doctors at Bowring Hospital postponed the surgery of a 38-year-old accident victim as it was a government holiday on Monday. Worse, he’s been asked to wait till next Monday for the surgery. If his turn comes, that is. The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has taken up the case.
Bhupathi Kumar has been lying on the floor outside the general ward at Bowring Hospital for the past few days after an accident on Hosur Road on Sunday.
Kumar was waiting for a bus to Tamil Nadu at around 10 o’clock when a speeding bike ran over his right leg. People at the spot called the local police who shifted him to Bowring Hospital in an 108 ambulance.
There are three orthopaedic units at Bowring Hospital and Kumar was admitted to unit two which comes under Dr Manoj. Dr Manoj administered first-aid and said he needed a surgery. But after that, no doctor has looked him up. Once in a while, Kumar is checked on by a trainee or intern.

Long wait

“I am suffering a lot and I’m afraid of losing my right leg. But they say orthopaedic surgeries for unit two patients are conducted only on Mondays. Last Monday, it was Kanaka Jayanti and the Monday before was Bakrid, so no surgeries were carried out.
As a result, doctors say there are many patients waiting to be operated on, and I will get a chance only if there is time. Otherwise, I have to wait for another Monday,” Kumar told Bangalore Mirror.
“I’m not blaming any doctor here but if at all I lose my leg due to a delay in surgery, where will my family go and who will look after them? I am a very poor man and I can’t go to a private hospital. They made me sleep on the floor for three days and are now asking me to wait till Monday,” Kumar said.

Rights body steps in

Kumar got a bed only after the South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM) stepped in.
“We heard about Kumar’s case and went to the hospital to check. Not only Kumar but many other patients needing orthopaedic surgery are waiting. Will the injury wait till Monday? If something serious happens to Kumar, who will be responsible? We have complained to SHRC and they will be inspecting the hospital soon,” Prakash Cariappa, fact-finding coordinator for SICHREM, told Bangalore Mirror.

Doctors’ take

Doctors from Bowring have a different story. They say that they would have carried out the surgery if it was truly an emergency since they have a 24/7 operation theatre.
“It is true that we conduct orthopaedic surgeries for unit two on Mondays. I haven’t come across this case but we never wait in case of emergencies, even if it’s a government holiday,” said Dr H Satish Chandra, medical superintendent, Bowring Hospital.
“We are here to work and even we are human beings and know the value of people. If it is an emergency, I will arrange for an operation. Please send the patient’s attender to me and I will go and check,” he said.
He also said that if at all Kumar was made to wait, there would have been some valid reason.
However, he had no answer as to why Kumar was kept waiting even when one of the inhouse doctors said he needed a surgery.

If I lose my leg due to a delay in surgery, where will my family go?