Hyderabad: Many pregnant women were left confused and angry after the Government Maternity Hospital at Koti in Hyderabad stopped out-patient (OP) services for new patients on Friday morning.
This was because hospital staff are prioritising patients on account of staff shortage as a result of coronavirus infections among doctors at this and other hospitals. Non-emergency OP cases were being told to go home and come back later.
At least 30 women and their families were told by hospital staff that only emergency cases would be admitted. Prathima, a resident of Medchal, was referred to the Koti hospital by the Government Hospital, Medchal. Her due date is in the third week of July.
“I started experiencing some pain but the doctors refused to treat me, saying OP services were discontinued and OP cards were not being issued,” she said.
Prathima claimed that when she went to the emergency ward, the doctor asked her to leave as she was not an emergency case, without checking her reports or documents.
Other patients had similar complaints. OP services had been partly suspended at the hospital for some days.
On Thursday, C. Mallesh, a resident of Gayatrinagar, had taken his four-months pregnant wife, Shashirekha, to the Koti hospital. They were advised by a private clinic to get a check-up and OP card at the hospital, since it would be useful during emergencies.
“We went at 8 am and waited for more than three hours. Later, some hospital staff told us that new OP cards were not being issued. A lot of people, who were waiting like us, got angry,” he said. When things escalated, the police were called.
Hospital sources said the staff was prioritising emergency cases. With Covid-19 cases being reported at Petlaburj Maternity Hospital, many patients are preferring the Koti maternity hospital.
The work force at Koti hospital has been affected after a few doctors tested positive for Covid-19. An official said, “Before the lockdown, we would have around 3,000 deliveries a month. During the lockdown, we have delivered more than 5,000 babies a month. The workload has exploded.”
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, Koti hospital superintendent Dr. Rajyalakshmi said the women who were sent away on Friday were assessed to be non-emergency. “Our doctors would have admitted them straight into the emergency ward if they were found in need of immediate care. We asked them to leave for their safety since they did not need admission. We acted in their interest,” she said.