Some doctors and nurses looked after patients, come hell or high water. And both did

A few doctors and nurses helped others left us in the lurch MIOT ICU patient speaks out
news Chennai Floods Saturday, December 05, 2015 - 12:00

As questions hang about the role of doctors and staff at Chennai’s MIOT Hospital, a patient who was in the cardiac ICU when the waters came rushing in, tells a story of the hardship suffered by both patients and some of the nurses and doctors who moved patients to safety.

Chetana (name changed on request), a patient at the hospital told The News Minute that while the hospital took no responsibility, some of the doctors and the nurses who were posted to the cardiac ICU worked tirelessly without food and water and stood by the patients.

After undergoing a bypass surgery on Monday, Chetana was recuperating in the ICU on the third floor. However, when the hospital began to flood, things started to go wrong.

Around 3 am on Wednesday, the power went off, recalls Sujata (name changed on request), who was with her mother-in-law in the hospital. She told The News Minute that Chetana’s surgeon Dr Bashi managed to get to the hospital on Wednesday morning.

“They too were stranded, but they managed to get down with a rope and got a boat to the hospital. After he came, he consoled us. There are no ramps in the hospital. He and some others carried my mother-in-law down three floors,” Sujata told The News Minute.

A source told The News Minute that Dr. Bashi and his wife Sethu were rescued by the Coast Guard, after which the pair picked up Dr. Bashi’s colleague from the cardiac unit Dr. Vijith. All three of them then went to the hospital, said the source who requested anonymity.

She says Chetana was shifted to Venkateshwara Hospital in Nandanam on Friday evening. Earlier that morning, Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J Radhakrishna had told the media that all the patients from MIOT Hospital had already been shifted.

Although Chetana had been advised complete rest by the doctors and did not speak to The News Minute over the phone, Sujata said, “She says that the six nurses who were at the ICU were exceptional. For so many days, they worked without food or water. I happened to have some biscuits and nuts with me, so we had those. But MIOT does not allow outside food, the nurses had nothing.”

Five days in the hospital without food and water had been a tough ordeal. “At one point we drank rainwater. There were no medicines. The pharmacy in the basement was flooded and the other one was locked, so people had to go outside to get medicines,” Sujata added.

Asked about reports that doctors had abandoned the patients, Sujata said that when she came down on Wednesday morning, she could identify only Dr. Bashi and the doctors and nurses who were with him. She says she cannot comment on the rest of the hospital.

“On Wednesday morning, some nurses told me that when they tried to enter the hospital for their shifts, the security told them that the hospital was shut and that there were no patients. But we were there, six patients (in the cardiac ICU). The nurses told the security that they knew of patients inside the hospital and came in,” Sujata says.

By Tuesday evening, she says word had spread that the hospital was going to be shut and that based on that, people had already begun to make arrangements to go home.

On Thursday, a man named Jaffer had told The News Minute that his relatives, who had been admitted to the hospital took a government bus to reach home.

In a message to The News Minute, Chetana had said of the hospital, “Lots to write about their negatives and yet a positive story of only the cardiac ICU unit staff and doctors under Dr Bashi. We went without even water or candle light on Wednesday. But Dr. Bashi and team personally came and managed us and have moved us to Venkateshwara Hospital in Nandanam. Suffered the worst. But the nurses who worked for three days without food was remarkable… Mohandas had no courtesy to even met (sic) us patients. It was my son and daughter-in-law who managed to help old patients and attendants.”

Dr. Mohandas is the founder of the hospital. He could not be reached.

Both she and Sujata feel that while individual doctors had helped patient, the hospital could have done better.

The News Minute is making attempts to get in touch with Dr. Bashi and others who were at the hospital during the last five days.

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