My quest to admit my ailing mother to a proper hospital kept me on my toes, of late. I consulted city hospitals and doctors. The capital, though small in size, has a large number of hospitals.
The biggest among them, Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) with as many as 991 beds, 900 doctors, 650 nurses and the necessary infrastructure such as ultra-sound, X-ray and CT scan facilities.
No other hospital can match the RIMS in terms of its majestic building, the number of qualified doctors and infrastructure. But to my surprise, none of my colleagues, friends and well-wishers, advised me to take my mother to RIMS, a stone?s throw away from my home and would have been most convenient. My well-wishers were unanimous that only the poor, who could not spend money, visit the RIMS. I, too, found several men and women, clad in stained lungis, dhotis and saris queuing before the OPD at RIMS when I visited it one morning. The patients? dress and appearance told a tale of their financial ?status? as my friends told me.
While, the Raj Hospital on the main road, Apollo at Irba, Guru Nanak Hospital, SDA Mission Hospital on the Bariatu Road and Nagar Mal Seva Sadan were among the names that prominently figured in the discussion with friends, as viable options.
I was told that if I really wished well for the woman who brought me to this world I should stay away from RIMS. Eventually, I opted for the SDA Mission Hospital to get my mother?s cataract operated on. This hospital uses the service of the renowned city ophthalmologist, doctor Raj Mohan, who carries out surgeries only two days in a week. Though relatively small, the hospital turned out to have a dedicated team of doctors and nurses, who took care of my mother, at least to my satisfaction.
I wondered what actually had been ailing RIMS, which given its gigantic infrastructure, is supposed to be a pillar of medical support to the city and the rural people.
After all, the majority of the city?s renowned surgeons and physicians carry the tag of serving as professors or retired professors from RIMS. Even the patients, by and large, consider those doctors, who are or were associated with RIMS, as ?qualified?for consultation. In a way, the RIMS?s tag provides doctors with a recognition and name, which makes them more acceptable.
Then what prevents patients, particularly the well-off ones, to avoid RIMS? I heard some of the doctors? and patients? experiences and made a couple of visits to the ?esteemed? institution. The state?s ?premier? medical establishment turned out to be a saga of callousness and ill-treatment of its patients.
If you visit the OPD you will find the doctors absent invariably. Even if you happen to find a doctor, who may suggest a CT scan or blood sugar test, most certainly the technician would be missing from the test centres. If you are a patient you will seldom find doctors and nurses attending you, to administer medicines, or for regular examination.
Stained mattresses, dirty wards, stinking toilets and urinals tell the sordid story of what RIMS actually offers to its patients.
Recently, a road accident victim and college student, Bablu Kumar Mahto (22), died at RIMS. His death drove his friends and relatives to frenzy, and they indulged in vandalism in RIMS campus alleging ?neglect? on the part of the doctors.
The RIMS invariably encounters such ugly scenes.
I wonder why should the Government keep RIMS in its control when it has lost patients? faith despite spending huge amounts on it? Why should it not be handed over to the mission or other private parties who could ensure better education and treatment?