Will Maharani Laxmi Bai Medical College at Jhansi to be next BRD, alike Gorakhpur tragedy?

Gorakhpur tragedy: UP CM Yogi Adityanath orders criminal actions against BRD Hospital,oxygen-supplier agency

New Delhi, August 19: After the Gorakhpur tragedy in the Baba Raghav Das Medical College, Maharani Laxmi Bai Medical College in Jhansi could be the next. The Maharani Laxmi Bai Medical College in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, the pillar of Bundelkhand region’s healthcare system. The  Maharani Laxmi Bai Medical College has a single dealer that provides oxygen to the 700-bed hospital and does mostly on credit.

Maharani Laxmi Bai Medical College has a debt of Rs 36 lakh to Gauri Gas Limited that included thte unpaid bills from 2016 and also from the supplies in 2017. The hospital authorities cleared the supplier’s bills upto June 2017 after they got funds from the state government on August 14. The due payments of Maharani Laxmi Bai Medical College were cleared only after over 70 children’s died at Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur, due to the lack of oxygen supply. The bills at Baba Raghav Das Medical College were unpaid to the oxygen suppliers which resulted in a huge tragedy in the state. The opposition parties are attacking the  Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in the state.

The contract of Gauri Gas Limited got expired in March, 2017 and the procedure to start a new tender has not been started till date. Yet, the Gauri Gas Limited still continues to provide oxygen to the Maharani Laxmi Bai Medical College. A former doctor said that “Imagine what would happen if the supplier backs off over the delayed payment. The medical college has no back up also.”

The occupancy rate of Maharani Laxmi Bai Medical College is 95% on week days,  the oxygen cylinders could last for 8-10 hours at the most. If by chance the fresh stock of cylinders fails to reach, then there is  supply only up to 25-20 cylinders. The daily consumption of oxygen  at the hospital is between 120-150 jumbo size cylinders. In 2016, the hospital received Rs 6 crore for meeting the expenditure. Rs 4 crore was spent on buying medicines, injections, and chemicals. The hospital was not able to utilize the remaining amount, that was around Rs 2 crore.

The medical college principal NS Sengar said that “That is the only main reason that money to the suppliers was not paid on time. the bills are cleared up to June 2017. I am with the college since last 18 years and have not seen such a problem like what happened in Gorakhpur.” RS Sengar did not commented about the action which he took instantly after the Gorakhpur tragedy. he reportedly sent an SOS message to the government in regard for the payment of Rs 36 lakh to the supplier. The Gauri Gas Limited  still did not receive the money for supplies made in July 2017.

Maharani Laxmi Bai Medical College gets the patients from 7 districts of Uttar Pradesh and also Madhya Pradesh, and often struggles with fund crunch and shortage of staff. The reliable sources said the equipment in the hospital is getting rusty day by day because it is not maintained properly. “The college is struggling with 50% less staff and funds. No investment is made in order to buy new equipment in years. The entire medical college is running on jugaad. The patients and their families continuously complains about poor infrastructure and lack of basic materials such as gloves and also the basic  medicines. They also complained about the unhygienic atmosphere in the campus and the wards.

Raghuveer Singh, who came for the treatment of his nephew who met with an accident since last 23 days said that “Other than ointment, we are not getting anything from the hospital.We have to buy everything from outside and also items required in the surgery. I bought the surgical gloves for the doctors.” The resident of Moth in Jalaun said that “A stretcher was not provided to us. I had to hunt for it. How much time was wasted when a serious patient is with you.

The Gorakhpur tragedy brought some changes in the Maharani Laxmi Bai Medical College. We were provided with clean bed sheets for the first time in months.”

The Jhansi hospital focuses on the challenges faced by the state’s underfunded and oppressed public health system. The successive governments have failed to address the acute shortage of doctors and infrastructure. The problems are combined by cases of shabby medical treatment.