The facilities at the Darbhanga Medical College Hospital (DMCH), one of the oldest medical colleges in Bihar after the Patna Medical College Hospital, are in a sorry state.
Residents of several districts including Samastipur, Madhubani and Saharsa depend on the DMCH but a visit to this medical college reminds one of hell.
Filled with garbage and waterlogged, the hospital premises are unhygienic with pigs and cows hanging around.
Nurses on emergency duty were seen crossing over pools of dirty water. A nurse, Dipa Kumari, said they have been facing this situation for 27 years and it worsens during the monsoons. She said frontline workers are forced to serve by putting their own lives at risk.
Not even the DMCH medical superintendent Mani Bhushan Sharma's office has been spared. In order to escape injury or get himself drenched in the filthy water, Sharma has to take the help of a guard and driver to reach his office.
When asked, Sharma said the situation is not new because this hospital is very old and situated in a low-lying area. On the Covid situation and facilities for Covid patients, he said they are fighting day and night with the support of the administration. He, however, pointed out that there is a lack of manpower to handle ventilator issues. Sharma, who himself has recovered from coronavirus, said his daughter is also Covid positive, but despite all odds, he is doing everything possible to ensure the recovery of patients.
Sharma said DMCH is running a Covid ward in a new building where everything is upgraded.
However, in front of the DMCH superintendent's office is the Covid ICU ward. The nearby area is again inundated with dirty water.
Doctor Ashutosh Kumar, who serves in the Covid ICU ward said, said doctors and nurses are at God's mercy with high chances of infection from garbage and water-logging on the premises but they are helpless.
The road to the new nurses' hostel, especially for the ones serving in the Covid wards is damaged and water-logged.
Chandan, whose father-in-law is critical and admitted to the Covid ward, crosses the water-logged road to buy medicines. He said, "What can we do? I have to go to get medicines every day. I have to buy them from outside."
The surgery ward of DMCH is in a similar poor state, and the chances of any untoward incident can't be ruled out. Half the building has already been vacated by the administration due to worsening conditions leaving the surgery ward at God's mercy.
Reacting to the poor condition of the building, a surgical ward staff member said, "Yes, we are afraid but you have to ask this question from the government."
The DDC of Darbhanga Tanay Sultania told ANI, "We have made available two senior doctors (POD) and four SR/PG doctors in each shift for three shifts every day. Apart from that, we have made available one senior doctor and two PG students of the medicine department in each shift for the care of serious patients. Physician on call (head of one medicine unit) is also available."
"Before April 12 only one POD and 2-3 PG students were there for the entire HDU ward and converting HDU to semi-ICU--the entire HDU ward is made as semi-ICU with 75 BIPAPs available for non-invasive ventilation. Sixteen patients are currently on BIPAP. The nursing station has been operationalised on each floor. There are two nurses each on five floors in each shift. Earlier there were only six nurses in each shift," he said.
He said, "And we increased the number of ward boys from 4-5 in total to 10 government ward boys in each shift and six outsourced ward boys in each shift dedicated to the movement of cylinders. Also, the control room functions all the time for addressing complaints. Twenty calls are made by operators on their own to admitted patients to seek feedback in each shift every day."
Blaming the low-lying area and the old building that houses the DMCH for the unhygienic conditions on the premises, Sultania said the entire focus has now been shifted to the cure of Covid patients.