Mrunal Manmay Dash

The sorry state of affairs at the Sriram Chandra Bhanja Medical College and Hospital (SCBMCH) in Cuttack was exposed again as it failed to repair a lift for five consecutive days endangering patients’ lives.

While treatment of patients on verandahs, power failure and water shortage are not new to the hospital, the fresh controversy has taken the status of the ‘Prestigious’ hospital to a new low.

As per reports, the lift for patients at the New Medicine Department building has been defunct for the last five days forcing the attendants to carry their patients up to the third floor on stairs.

While some patients, who can stand, take the doctors’ elevator after a lot of waiting, the patients on stretchers are suffering far more. They have to be carried dangerously by at least four persons on the stairs with a constant fear of falling down from the stretcher.

Though the patients and their attendants have vented anger at the indifferent attitude of the hospital authorities towards their plight, no hospital staff or senior management were available to make any comment on this.

Attendants in SCB Cuttack React to Lift Issue

“I have been staying here with my patient since December 5. The lift of this building has been defunct for the last 5-6 days. The patients and their attendants are suffering a lot due to this. Attendants are having a hard time taking patients upstairs on stretchers. There is a chance of patients slipping and falling from the stretcher too. Who will be responsible if something like that happens?” asked a patient's attendant at the SCB hospital.

Another attendant said, “I came here with my patient at 2 am last night. Because of the defunct lift, I called my brother-in-law, who later came here and carried my patient on the stretcher with the help of two battery vehicle operators. It requires at least four adults to carry a patient upstairs on stretcher.”

“The doctors’ lift is working fine. But the lift for patients has been lying defunct for several days now. I don’t understand why it is taking so many days when it normally takes hardly 3-4 hours to repair a lift. It has become very dangerous to carry patients this way,” he said.

A social worker working for the benefit of poor patients vented his anger at the hospital management. “There is a Superintendent, an Administrative Officer and three Hospital Managers. But nobody seems to be concerned about this grave danger for patients. The lift for doctors is operating well. So they have ignored the welfare of patients. Nobody from the upper management ever comes to the wards and speaks with the patients. They do not know what kind of suffering the patients and their attendants are facing on a daily basis here at the SCB hospital.”

“It does not seem that the government has anything to do with public welfare. They are only busy to appease their vote bank by announcing new projects,” he alleged.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had on January 1, 2021, announced that the SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack would become an 'AIIMS Plus' institute after completion of the ongoing development work.

January 1, 2024, was set as the deadline for completion of the SCB Medical College and Hospital which is being redeveloped at an expenditure of Rs 3,500 crore.

The hospital will have a provision for 5,000 beds and modern-day facilities for doctors, patients, health workers and students. The upgraded facility will have provisions like modern transport facilities, restaurants and commercial centres. There will be a provision for 1,280 residential quarters and accommodation facilities for 2,200 students.

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