Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Mar 21:
Bulu Behera was distraught. The sixty year old man from Baialish Mouza in Cuttack district, who at present is staying at Shantipali basti in Unit III under Kharvela Nagar police station here, was trying to catch the attention of anybody who could help get his wife Gurubari Behera, suffering from 70% burns, some badly needed medical attention.
“I requested the casualty ward doctors and staffs to check my wife. But nobody paid any attention to my request. I have been waiting for four hours outside the hospital with my wife on the stretcher,” a helpless Bulu, a driver by profession, told OST.
Bulu’s ordeal started on March 12 when his wife was admitted to the Capital Hospital by his relatives after she received severe burn injuries following a burst stove accident the same day. But since the hospital did not have a burn unit, the doctors on duty referred his wife to the SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack on March 16 after her health condition deteriorated.
His ordeal did not end at the SCB either, as there too the doctors ignored her as Bulu was unable to pay money for her treatment. “Being poor, I was unable to pay the hospital expenses though I had already coughed up Rs 8000 on her treatment,” said Bulu.
After two days at the SCB, doctors refused to treat his wife and advised him to take her back to the Capital Hospital. A helpless Bulu brought his wife back to the rented home where he stays here, but his relatives refused to keep the victim in the locality.
“Today, I brought my wife again to the Capital Hospital hoping for better treatment this time, but the doctors as well as the staff ignored my request,” said a harassed Bulu.
When OST confronted Dr Pradeep Kumar Acharya, Director of Capital Hospital, about the lack of treatment for Gurubari, he expressed his helplessness in these words: “We are helpless as we don’t have a burns unit here in the Capital Hospital. Bulu’s wife has suffered 70% burns and general surgery is of no use in such cases.”
Asked why the premier government hospital in the state capital lacked such a basic facility, he said; “A proposal to open a burns unit at the hospital has been pending for the past six years. There has been no progress on the proposal in all these years.”
Dr Acharya emphasized the dire need for a dedicated burns unit functioning in a separate building with surgeons for undertaking reconstructive surgery, trained nurses, paramedical professionals and support staff.
Bulu’s wife was taken to the casualty ward for a general dressing after the hospital director directed the doctors and staff following the intervention of this OST correspondent.
But the big question is: should the Gurubaris of this part continue to suffer just because the supposedly pro-people government fails to act on a proposal for years ?