In one corner of the outpatient department at Nair Hospital lies a battery-operated stretcher in a dilapidated state, which was purchased in 2008 to ferry patients to and from the main hospital building and casualty-ward building.
Since its battery broke down over a year back, the two-seater cart, which has a stretcher fittted in it, has not been in use.
The idea of purchasing an emergency battery cart was first floated by Dr Sanjay Oak, who was dean at Nair hospital in 2008. “It is common in a hospital with a horizontal layout. I proposed one for Nair hospital as it has three buildings spread over a vast area,” Oak said.
While Nair hospital purchased the battery cart in 2008 for around Rs 4-5 lakh, KEM hospital purchased one in 2009, said Gopi, managing director of Carrieall Car, a Chennai-based company that manufactures the cart.
According to Gopi, the company had been providing free servicing of the cart. However, it demanded a fee when its battery broke down. “The corporation refused to pay and so we decided not to continue with our service without levying charges. There is also no annual maintenance contract that has been signed,” he said.
The cart was used for ferrying patients in emergency cases or senior citizens from the casualty ward or OPD building and the main hospital building. A nurse at the hospital said, “The cart was very convenient. Any serious case was transferred using the battery cart as it was quick. Using a normal stretcher is difficult since the buildings are located at a distance from each other.”
Anil Jhambhore, an assistant engineer in the electrical maintenance department in Nair hospital said, “The tyres of the cart were not available. We have procured the tyres now and the repairs will be carried out soon.”
In the absence of the battery-operated cart, patients are ferried using conventional stretchers. “We need to get the cart repaired soon,” said Dr Shivraj Das, deputy dean at Nair hospital. However, in the past year, no attempt has been made to repair the cart, said an office administrator at the hospital.
The battery-operated cart at KEM Hospital is currently not being used. “We have construction work going on here. Till the construction is over, it cannot be used because it needs a smooth terrain,” said KEM’s acting dean Dr Shubhangi Parkar.
She added that the hospital is likely to put forward a proposal for an additional battery-operated cart for patients.