By Iboyaima Laithangbam
As a child when I hanged around dispensaries at Kangpokpi, Thoubal or Andro where the all pervasive stench of disinfectants wafted in the hospitals and wards. This distinctive stench is conspicuous by its absence in the general wards in general and special wards in particular in Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal, which is under the union health ministry. The reason is not deep to root for. Adequate fund must be sanctioned for such disinfectants. When I was admitted in a special ward recently there was no nurse in the cubicle. Some of them were gossiping in the rest room. Much later one sidled out. I explained to her that I had to rush to the eye ward for check up and the test reports were needed. The nurse casually asked me to take the reports and submit the same when I returned. The system is that the nurses on duty should have welcomed a patient like me, lodged in the room and my reports properly docketed.
One attendant should have taken the reports to the eye department. When I returned a new group of nurses were on duty. One sharp tongued nurse was not happy that I took the reports instead of depositing to the cubicle. Even after my explanation she kept on lecturing.
Anyway they should have swung into actions attending to my needs including medication. No nurse came to my room. On the second the doctor asked one nurse to send someone to fetch ear buds for me from the eye department. It was ignored with contempt. Instead of doing hospital work a hand written list of four bulbs, one bucket, one mug, etc was brought for my signature. It was quite insulting that RIMS treats patients as potential thieves who would steal a bulb costing about Rs 12.
In hospitals elsewhere in the country a nurse will closely monitor the patient and personally administer the medicines and tests usually done by a nurse on duty. But no nurse came during my three day stay there.
At the instruction of the doctor an allergic test was done at 4.38 pm on the second in preparation for the operation the following day.
However no nurse came and the night shift nurses did not know about it. At 7 pm I walked to the cubicle to ask about it and one nurse casually said that if I do not have itch it was okay.
One sweeper comes to “sweep” the room in less than one minute, really a gold medal winning performance. Later another comes for “mopping” without bucket or water. After two or three swipes she also leaves. There is no disinfectant. The bathroom is also cleaned without such disinfectants or water since the taps had gone dry by that time. Two plumbers visited the bathroom three times on the second day to set right the faucets. They forgot to turn off the same. Much later the bathroom, room were flooded and spilled over at the corridor. A nurse tongue lashed my wife. My wife also hit back saying that the plumbers are to be blamed. Since there was no sweeper at that time my wife had to mop the floors. A very attractive award of the paying ward. Being paying ward there should be restrictions on visitors, their number and duration of stay as is done elsewhere. In absence of such regulations visitors overstay in huge number suffocating the patients.
Besides as there is no nobody to guide the unlettered visitors knock each and every door in search of their relatives. The extent of harassment caused to the patients is maddening. Patients cannot depend on the nurses for timely medication whereas in other states patients` relatives are not allowed to handle the medicines. One nurse frankly admitted that it was her first contact with an eye patient. She also had forgotten to inform me on the timing of the medication. She could not identify two sets of tablets, It was only when a post graduate student came and identified the tablets that I took them.
The doctors, post graduate students and operation equipments will be envy of many big hospitals in the country. But proper supervision, administration, reorientation of the mindset of the nurses to make the hospital patient friendly are urgently called for. One does not have to delve deep to know why most of the patients prefer the private hospitals despite the prohibitive expenses. Is it any wonder that my treatment sheet was blank during my stay and even the name of the doctor was not taken and written there except the word `Prof`?
(My special thanks and gratitude to Dr Chingshuingamba and his dedicated team who attended to me).