IN THE corridor of the neurosurgery ward at PGI’s trauma centre, a patient is lying on a stretcher. For the last four months, he is being treated for a severe head injury suffered in a road accident and is ready to be discharged. Nobody knows his name or address and he is in no condition to say or write anything.
“The patient is suffering from Acute Subdural Haemorrhage (SDH) – a severe brain injury – and has already undergone surgery. The operation is successful, but the patient needs home care. It cannot be said how much time he will take to finally give any signs about his identity. It may take months for him to speak. However, his current medical status is that he can be discharged from hospital and needs to be provided home care for faster recovery. But, since we know nothing about this man, we do not know where to send him,” said a doctor from the Department of Neurosurgery.
The patient, said to be in his thirties, was referred to PGI’s Advance Trauma Centre with a head injury by GMCH-32. He has been in hospital since November 5, 2017, and operated upon immediately and kept under observation ever since. In the absence of any attendant, it’s the resident doctors, nursing staff and members of a local NGO, who are taking care of this patient.
“He was admitted long ago. Doctors and nurses take special care of him. He is being provided food supplement through Ryle tube by the nursing staff. The attendants from an NGO Lifeline, who take care of patients in need at PGI, visit this patient regularly and take care of him,” a security guard outside the neurosurgery ward told Chandigarh Newsline.
Although PGI has also informed Chandigarh Police about the patient, it has not got any positive feedback. “His picture was posted on the institute’s website, but it has been of no help. It has become difficult for us to trace his family members, because he is not in a position to convey anything about himself,” said a PGI official.
A tracheotomy tube has also been fitted to a patient. Tracheotomy is a surgically created hole, which provides a patient an alternative airway for breathing.
“Generally, in such cases, we send a letter to the Department of Social Welfare to make some arrangements for unknown patients or those abandoned by their kin. But, this time, we are totally helpless because he needs 24×7 care to feed him till he recovers fully. If we send him to a sarai or rehabilitation home, no one is going to give him that kind of attention, which he requires,” said a doctor from the hospital administration.