“It is very painful, I cannot even get up by myself, but I’m forced to queue here in the chilling cold,” said a teary-eyed elderly woman patient as she queued outside AIIMS, Bhubaneswar at 3AM in the night to get ticket for doctors’ appointment.
This plight is not limited to one patient. Every night, hundreds of patients are forced to queue outside the premier hospital in Bhubaneswar. They have to spend sleepless nights in the chilling winter as only a limited number of patients get tickets for appointments on a given day.
Even as AIIMS boasts of advanced treatment and proper health facilities, most of the departments only give tickets to 40 patients a day. This has added to the woes of patients who travel all the way from different parts of the state, but fail to get a ticket due to the ’40 patients a day’ policy.
Adding to the woes, the night shelter homes at AIIMS can hardly accommodate the number of patients that throng the world-class hospital on a daily basis. So, many patients are forced to sleep on the pavement inside the hospital premises.
“They have a strict policy that the hospital will give entry to only 40 patients a day, no matter how serious the patient is. This policy has deprived many patients of medicines and routine check-up that further deteriorates their condition. So, we have no other way but to stand in queues here in the chilling winter cold,” alleged a woman patient from Khordha.
“I’m here for the past couple of days, but not been able to get a ticket. The situation is so worse that a patient may someday die here standing in the queue,” she added.
“Even if I get a ticket today, all the check-up and other process will not be completed in one day. They will ask me to come again some other day. Again I will have to spend the night here on the pavement for the ticket. And the suffering continues,” said another woman patient who has come all the way from Puri.
“More than the disease, standing in this queue the whole night in cold is more painful,” she cried.
Not only patients from various parts of Odisha, patients from neighbouring states of West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand also come here for treatment. But, the ‘40 patients policy’ has only added to their plight.
Meanwhile, comments of the Bhubaneswar AIIMS authority could not be obtained on the matter.
(Reported by Prasanjit Ray, OTV)