WITH 20 lakh patients per year, the Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital at Sion is among the country’s largest hospitals. Yet, the building, divided into six wings, is in need of urgent repair and renovation, with some works pending for years. “Of the six wings, two have been taken care of, but four need to be worked upon,” said Dr Suleman Merchant, dean of Sion Hospital. The second floor of the hospital building has severely damaged ceilings. As a makeshift solution, a set of metal pillars have been installed for support in ward number 32 and in the ICU.
The makeshift pillars have led to apprehensions among patients, especially with heavy rain during the monsoon. “Who can we share our problems with and why will they listen to a singular voice?” asked Anu Gupta (30), whose 30-year-old husband, who has a heart problem, has been admitted into ward 32 for four days now. That concern is shared by many. “I didn’t think about the pillars and the ceiling, my mother needed urgent treatment and the doctors here attend to a patient immediately and efficiently,” said Sunita Matrayas, 38, whose mother had a heart attack and was admitted into the ICU on the second floor.
“The capacity here in the cardiology department is of 18 patients but we always have 30,” shared a senior nurse at the hospital. “A large number of patients are accommodated in the ward and thus the problem of the ceiling is a grave one. The ward faces ventilation issues too,” said another staffer. Funds for repairs are sourced from the hospital’s budget for minor repairs and maintenance work, and from funds allocated by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. “In this case, the funds have been allocated by the BMC to the Health Infrastructure Centre of the public health department, but there is still a delay of many months,” conceded Dr Merchant.
Dr Merchant said the adjacent wing had to be vacated 10 months ago to enable the Health Infrastructure Centre to carry out the work, but said the delay in conducting the repair was on account of unavoidable circumstances. “All I hope is for the work to begin soon,” added Dr Merchant.