Shared beds, overworked docs: How C-section deaths at Niloufer are affecting this Hyd hospital

Five women died after undergoing a C-section at Niloufer Hospital.
Shared beds, overworked docs: How C-section deaths at Niloufer are affecting this Hyd hospital
Shared beds, overworked docs: How C-section deaths at Niloufer are affecting this Hyd hospital
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The corridors of Modern Government Maternity Hospital at Petlaburj in Hyderabad’s Old City has been seeing a steady stream of patients and their relatives. The hospital’s stairway and its floors are occupied by visitors.

On the ground floor, doctors are working round-the-clock as pregnant patients go into labour.

Two floors above in the maternity ward, mothers, who have recently given birth, have their backs pressed against each other as they share beds.

“I have to share the bed with another woman. The nurse told us there is a shortage of beds here,” says 28-years-old Mumtaz Begam, who delivered a baby boy three days ago.

The increase in patients at Modern Government Maternity Hospital comes after five women died undergoing a Caesarean surgery at Niloufer Hospital between January 28 and February 4. The deaths triggered a protest by the victims’ families, who accused Niloufer Hospital of negligence.

The hospital has temporarily suspended all C-section deliveries, and has formed a three-member committee to probe the deaths. Women who need to undergo a C-section are being directed to Modern Hospital at Petlaaburj.

 “We have joined two beds and now four of us are sharing the beds. But we are managing somehow,” Mumtaz says, as she lies in one corner of the bed as another patient sleeps with her baby by her side.

Explaining the arrangement, she notes, “When she wakes up I’ll sleep for sometime.”

And while patients are being largely accommodative, doctors at Modern Government Maternity Hospital have seen their workload increase considerably in the last four days.  

“Naturally the work will increase, the doctors who used to attend seven patients a day, are attending fourteen. Though Niloufer Hospital has provided four doctors and three nurses here, our work pressure has doubled,” observes G Pratibha, superintendent of Modern Government Maternity Hospital.

While admitting that there is a shortage of beds, the superintendent said alternative arrangements were being made to ensure that some patients are shifted to other wards.

 “We were using two floors. From Monday we are planning to use the third floor and shift some of the patients who are sharing beds to new rooms. Right now, we have nearly 462 beds in the hospital, but on Saturday, there were more than 600 patients who were in need of beds,” Pratibha explains.

But the hospital is seeing an increase in not just C-section cases.

 “Besides C-section cases, we are also getting more normal delivery cases. It has become little hectic for us. After the Niloufer Hospital case, people are concerned and that’s why they want patients to be admitted here,” says one of the doctors.

With a bedsheet spread on the floor, 24-year-old Razia sits on the hospital floor, nursing her new-born.  Eyeing one of the hospital beds, she says, “We are waiting for that bed to get empty, I guess that woman is going to get discharged this evening, then I can use that bed. But for now, I have been sitting either on one corner of her bed or on the floor.”

As her baby cries for his feed, Razia picks him up and says, “It’s not their fault, lot of patients are coming, there are no beds available. We have to manage.”

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