Govt hospitals flooded, patients face infection risk


In Parel, a picture of contrast emerged in two heritage buildings that house city’s major hospitals-King Edward Memorial and Bai Jerbai Wadia. On Tuesday, heavy rains flooded the KEM hospital’s ground floor, which houses two paediatric wards, two medicine wards, casualty and emergency ward, forcing over 50 patients to be transferred to already over-crowded first and second floor wards of the hospital. A stone’s throw away, Wadia hospital’s corridors remained water free, except for waterlogging at the entrance gates.

Both hospitals, started in 1926, are 90 years’ old. The only difference — Wadia Hospital is built on a higher platform, and is topographically higher than KEM hospital. “The water levels rose within three hours in morning. One of the lifts stopped functioning,” a doctor from psychiatry department, KEM, said.

According to Dean Dr Avinash Supe, the hospital has two pumps that worked in full force to pump water out. “The water flows from Parel village towards our hospital. Water collected in ward 4 and 4A. Critical patients were transferred to other floors,” he said, adding the hospital has decided to provide shelter to all patients who visited on Tuesday since they had no mode of returning home.

Across the city, Sewri TB and Nair hospital were flooded near the entrance, changing room for nurses in Mahatma Jyotirao Phule hospital, Vikhroli, remained flooded while its female ward on first floor had leakages. In MT Agrawal hospital, Mulund, the paediatric ward on third floor had constant splashes of water from the terrace above. The hospital’s out-patient department also accumulated water on ground floor.

In KEM, patients clutched their medical files to their chest, as some waded through knee-deep water in corridors and others sat on wheelchairs to be transferred to another ward. Paediatric patients remained in their crib-like cots, with their parents tensed by their side. The ground floor has two paediatric wards with over 70 beds and two medicine wards with over 90 beds. “This is the situation every Monsoon. The patient load is also double the capacity leading to risk of infection spread,” said Nurse Kalpana Manjula, secretary of Noble Nursing Union.

Doctors said children admitted in paediatric ward and patients in medicine ward, both immuno-compromised, faced high risk of diarrhoea, cross infection from one patient to another due to poor infection control mechanism in flooded wards. Throughout Tuesday, ward boys mopped and cleaned floors to sweep water away.

Vishwas Mote, assistant commissioner of F-south (Parel), said a team was sent to KEM hospital on Tuesday afternoon to understand which drainage line was clogged. “Every year before Monsoons, we conduct maintenance activity of de-silting and drainage clearance in and around the hospital. The hospital has its own maintenance department that monitors all hospital drainage lines,” Mote said.  “It is a British-era structure. The intensity of rains is also high making matters worse,” Mote added.

Across the road, Wadia Hospital faced glitches due to waterlogged entrance. Staffers kept emergency medical supplies on platforms to avoid contamination. “The hospital has been built on a raised platform, higher than KEM. So far water has not seeped in. As precaution, we carried out storm-water drainage and maintenance work of all outlets before Monsoons,” said Dr Minnie Bodhanwala, CEO of Wadia Hospital. The hospital is, however, depending on generators after BEST cut supply to two phases in OPD and corridors. “Our generators can last for two days,” Bodhanwala said.

In Nair hospital, where the low-lying region witnesses flood every year, administration is bracing to face a power cut. “We have charged our generators and alerted engineers. BMC has notified of possible power cut, said Dr RN Bharmal, dean at hospital. In Sion hospital, the power supply was partially cut on Tuesday since 5 pm. Hospital has asked BEST to restore supply. It has three generators functioning.


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