In response to a distressing situation at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Hospital in Thane's Kalwa, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde conducted a visit on Monday. The hospital witnessed a concerning tally of 27 patient deaths over a mere four days.
CM Shinde was accompanied by Abhijit Bangar, Chief of Thane Municipal Corporation.
Tragically, the death toll increased by four on Monday alone, pushing the cumulative count to 27 since Friday.
CM's On-Site Assessment
CM Shinde engaged with several patients during his visit, aiming to comprehend the circumstances surrounding the escalating fatalities within the hospital. His objective was to gain insights into the situation and potential contributing factors.
With a strong sense of responsibility, CM Shinde earlier instituted an investigative committee. This committee is tasked with conducting a thorough inquiry into the deaths, focusing on the possibility of any negligence from the hospital staff and attending doctors.
Claims of Neglect by Relatives
Allegations of negligence surfaced as the relatives of the deceased claimed that their pleas for ICU admissions were disregarded by the hospital staff.
Their accounts also highlighted instances where treatment was postponed.
The hospital administration, however, is actively investigating the clinical aspects underlying the patient fatalities.
Government's Commitment to Improvement
The Maharashtra government displayed a proactive stance by allocating Rs 60 crore for the enhancement of hospital infrastructure. Plans are in motion to augment the hospital's bed capacity from 500 to 1,000 beds. Furthermore, improved hostel accommodations for resident doctors are on the horizon.
The process of relocating Rajiv Gandhi Medical College from the Kalwa hospital premises is already in progress. Within the next 10 months, an ambitious plan to elevate the hospital's infrastructure will be realized, according to TMC chief Bangar.
Community Perspectives and Concerns
Thane BJP MLA Sanjay Kelkar, who engaged in discussions with Bangar, emphasized the urgent requirement for a comprehensive revival plan for the facility. He pointed out that the hospital experiences heightened demand during the monsoon due to an upswing in rain-related ailments in the region.
A former dean of the hospital highlighted structural issues. She mentioned that the facility lacked a full-time head since her departure in 2020, with seven officials shouldering the role as additional charge. This fragmented leadership arrangement may have contributed to the challenges faced.
Oxygen Supply Concerns
Amidst the unfolding situation, some social workers voiced concerns about medical oxygen shortages at the hospital. Notably, 13 deaths occurred in the ICU. The hospital management, however, has refuted any allegations of oxygen scarcity.
CM Shinde's visit and the subsequent actions taken by the government underscore the commitment to resolve the challenges at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Hospital and enhance healthcare provisions for the community.