Keonjhar: Newly inaugurated Dharanidhar Medical College and Hospital (DDMCH) at Kabitra near Keonjhar town has failed to be of any use to the patients as it is yet to become fully operational months after its inauguration. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the newly-built medical college and hospital, February 13. The medical college and the 385-bed hospital were built at a cost of Rs 400 crore on 44.40 acre of land at Kabitra. Residents of Keonjhar town felt relieved after the establishment of DDMCH. However, it has failed to serve the purpose for which it was established, locals alleged.
Patients and their attendants continue to throng the district headquarters hospital (DHH) premises as the newly inaugurated hospital is yet to become fully functional inside the medical college campus. Patients are having a harrowing time as they continue to throng the DHH for treatment. Many of them unaware of the non-functioning of the DDMCH have to take rounds of its campus before finally converging at the DHH. Studies of the medical students are going on inside the campus while the hospital unit continues to function from the DHH premises in Keonjhar town even as over seven months have passed after its inauguration.
Notably, thousands of patients from Keonjhar and neighbouring Mayurbhanj, Deogarh, and Bhadrak districts as well as from neighbouring Jharkhand are dependent on the DHH in Keonjhar town. This has resulted in overcrowding of the DHH and patients have to wait for hours to get treatment. Things have come to such a pass that the main gate of the DHH often gets blocked due to the rush of patients and their kin. Patients wishing to book slots for check-ups with a super-specialist doctor usually have to stand in queue from the previous night in order to get a ticket.
Moreover, they have to jostle with others in the crowd as the ticket counter lies close to the medicine counter. Patients from outside the state are the worst sufferers. Reports said that the DHH is visited by over 2,000 outdoor patients and 250 indoor patients on a daily basis. The hospital has 21 clinical and non-clinical departments where doctors of the DHH and the DDMCH, including super specialist doctors appointed under DMF funds, provide treatment to the patients.
However, owing to lack of space and absence of a reception counter the patients have to wait for long hours for their turn by sitting or sleeping on the floor in unhealthy conditions. Various outfits have demanded more ticket and medicine counters in the hospital to make the DDMCH fully functional. Patients often complain of not getting free medicines and tests under Niramaya scheme.
As a result, they have to buy medicines and get their tests done outside by spending more from their pockets. Patients are subjected to exploitation while the medicine shop owners, private clinics, and nursing home owners rake in moolah fleecing the poor patients, social activist Dillip Sahu said. Moreover, the DHH has no ICU facility for emergency patients.
People said that the buildings in the DDMCH will soon get damaged if they are not put to use for a long time. A senior citizen Alekh Chandra Patra of Gambharia area in Keonjhar town said that he had been to the DHH for check up with a doctor but had to return home after witnessing a huge crowd outside the outdoor ward. An attendant Navin Palai said that he had been to the DHH to get one of his kin treated, Tuesday. He noticed people jostling and shoving each other to meet the doctor and informed the hospital authorities. The district administration and hospital authorities should intervene and shift the hospital unit of DDMCH to the newly built campus, he said. When contacted, hospital superintendent Dr Mahendra Nayak said he is aware of the problems and efforts are being made to shift the hospital unit to the medical college campus by December.
However, the shifting may get delayed as several employees are yet to be appointed and medical equipment is not yet available at the newly built medical college and hospital, he added.