Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE - K K SUN­DAR & LALITHA RANJANI @ Madu­rai

Madu­rai: In a shock­ing in­ci­dent, a con­tract san­i­tary worker on Fri­day was seen ad­min­is­ter­ing saline to a pa­tient ad­mit­ted at the Gov­ern­ment Ra­jaji Hos­pi­tal (GRH), a duty that is to be done ei­ther by a house sur­geon or by a nurse. The pa­tient to whom saline was given, had un­der­gone a surgery a few days ago

IN a shock­ing in­ci­dent, a con­trac­tual san­i­tary worker was spot­ted ad­min­is­ter­ing saline to a pa­tient at Gov­ern­ment Ra­jaji Hos­pi­tal (GRH) on Fri­day night. It’s a duty to be per­formed ei­ther by a house sur­geon or a nurse.

The worker con­cerned was ad­min­is­ter­ing saline to a pa­tient ad­mit­ted in the Urol­ogy Ward (Num­ber 307). More shock­ing was her rev­e­la­tion that she was work­ing un­der the in­struc­tion of the house sur­geon, since there was no nurse in the ward at that time. The pa­tient had un­der­gone surgery a few days ago and was in semi-con­scious state. The worker was ap­pointed by Pad­ma­vathi Hospi­tal­ity and Fa­cil­i­ties Man­age­ment Ser­vices.

When Ex­press con­tacted the Dean (in-charge) of GRH, Dr D Maruthu­pan­dian, he said he did not have de­tails and added, “The san­i­tary worker is com­pletely at fault. She should not have ad­min­is­tered saline even if the doc­tor had in­structed her, as it was not her duty.”

Med­i­cal Coun­cil of India (MCI) guide­lines say that for every eight pa­tients in the gen­eral ward, there should be one nurse. But at GRH, around 60 pa­tients are taken care of by one. One at­ten­dant said that Fri­day night’s was no stray in­ci­dent, which throws light on a num­ber of is­sues plagu­ing the hos­pi­tal ad­min­is­tra­tion. It raises the ques­tion that when it is the duty of ei­ther the house sur­geon or the nurse to ad­min­is­ter saline to a pa­tient in the hos­pi­tal, how could they pass it on to some­one who is not trained to han­dle such jobs.

The GRH, which has a to­tal of 440 nurses (340 per­ma­nent and 100 tem­po­rary) on its pay­roll, has been largely un­der­staffed in this as­pect, con­sid­er­ing that it has about 2,600 beds.

Blam­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tive in­ef­fi­ciency of the State Health and Fam­ily Wel­fare De­part­ment for non-re­cruit­ment of nurses for years, C Anand Raj, a Madu­rai-based health rights ac­tivist, said, “An RTI re­sponse re­ceived a cou­ple of years ago re­vealed that Madu­rai tops the list of Gov­ern­ment Med­i­cal Col­lege Hos­pi­tals in the State that are fac­ing short­age of nurses. At least 1,200-1,300 nurses are re­quired at GRH which has a daily in­flow of about 13,000 pa­tients.”

He added that about 800 nurses should be ap­pointed to tackle the im­bal­ance in the pa­tient-nurse ra­tio.

A se­nior nurse, on con­di­tion of anonymity, stated that a hos­pi­tal like GRH should have at least 1,300 nurses. But at present, only 440 are work­ing in three shifts.

She added that seven-hour shifts some­times get ex­tended to 12 hours due to the short­age of nurses.


A worker from a pri­vate agency ad­min­is­ter­ing saline so­lu­tion to a pa­tient in the ab­sence of doc­tors and nurses at Gov­ern­ment Ra­jaji Hos­pi­tal in Madu­rai on Fri­day night |

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