Here is an article we received from The Scholars’ Avenue, IIT Kharagpur. With the recent medical issues at IIT Kanpur faced by our inter-IIT aquatics team, the death of an IIT Kharagpur student this March and the oft-cribbed about hospital at IITM as well, we felt this was a must-read in all IITs as some points were common across all hospitals. This article was written by the Professor in-charge of BC Roy Hospital, IIT Kgp.
As BC Roy Hospital finally gets the upgrades it needs, it tackles some existential questions
It has now been a little over six months since the fateful sequence of events of March 22nd last year. A life was lost, tempers had risen to boiling point, mistakes were made, and several promises were tossed about by the administration to bring matters back under a semblance of control. So the question that begs asking is – have things changed after such a massive shake-up? How fares BC Roy Technology Hospital, half a year after pledging to undo half a century of apathy?
Upon examining progress reports circa April 2009, it is heartening to note that the facilities and amenities at the hospital have indeed been vastly revamped; for instance, students finally have 24×7 access to free medicine. Specialized staff has been recruited for radiology, pathology, emergency care, etc. New doctors and nurses have been appointed, and new ambulances have been introduced (for a more detailed progress report, log onto www.scholarsavenue.org).
However, it is still hard to gauge if medical care on campus is “good enough” – for where exactly does one place the bar? Public opinion of the hospital is still rather low, but it is as yet unclear to what degree of medical care we can expect. There is a vast difference between a government clinic, which has its own set of guidelines, and a privately owned hospital. As Prof. Gautam Sinha (Chairman, BCRTH) asks in a concept paper to all stakeholders, “What exactly is this hospital expected to deliver?” As the primary medical centre of a university, BCR Hospital has to decide what degree of medical aid it can or cannot provide – is it expected to provide facilities for trauma, cardiac, surgical, bronchial, orthopaedic care, etc. – and then budget accordingly. The current focus of the administration is on formulating such a charter of deliverables. Until such fundamental questions are answered, though, any further measures undertaken by the hospital merely amount to applying band-aid.
Back to the Patient
Perhaps instead of constantly pointing fingers, it is high time we tried making good use of what we have. Prof. Sinha adds, “Neither am I omniscient nor am I prescient. I can not do anything unless someone puts it in writing or at least writes a mail to me. If an ambulance is delayed, is the driver himself going to contact me and say ‘I came 40 minutes late’?” The hospital has a feedback form next to the registration desk which is checked personally (and immediately acted upon) by Prof. Sinha and the Medical Advisor, Dr SK Ganguli. However, thus far very few complaints have actually been lodged despite all the stories of medical negligence floating around in the wings. It appears our own self-restraint in voicing our grievances is keeping action from being taken.
Additionally, hospital administration is concerned about the undue load on the emergency ward, often for trivial ailments such as sore-throats and colds. It is hoped that students would make use of the Out-patient Department (OPD) whenever possible so that the emergency ward is available when there really is one.