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Gross neglect afflicts Telangana State Cancer Hospital

Gross neglect afflicts  Telangana State Cancer Hospital

HYDERABAD: It might have been recognized as an apex cancer centre in India by none other than the World Health Organisation only six months ago, but the state-run Mehdi Nawaz Jung (MNJ) Institute of Oncology is clearly not in the pink of health. 

Functioning without a full-time director ever since the new TRS government rode into power, the 60-year-old hospital – whose founder’s 121st birth anniversary falls on May 23 -has, in reality, been left to rot by the state administration. 

Sample this: Case records of over 5,000 patients undergoing treatment here have been damaged -with 500 of them completely destroyed – after drainage water from overflowing pipes flooded the hospital’s record room in the newly-inaugurated Out Patient (OP) block about a week ago. 

“These records are crucial as they contain case histories of patients who visit the hospital from different parts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. We don’t know how the patients will react when they see these half-torn case sheets,” wondered a senior oncologist. 

In fact, when a TOI lensman visited the record room, the hospital staff was seen drying wet files and salvaging the leftover sheets, some of which were halftorn and some of which had turned into pulp after being under drainage water for days together. 

Worse, even the administration of the hospital is in a mess. “We are totally helpless as there is no administrative authority to turn to.The posts of both the director and administrative officer are lying vacant,” said the oncologist, ruing how doctors are forced to work in the stinky surroundings – with overflowing drainage water entering the hospital premises often. 

For the record, the hospital was formally inaugurated by the first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on December 8, 1955.In March 1996, the hospital went on to earn the status of Regional Cancer Centre from the Government of India and was renamed as MNJ Institute of Oncology & Regional Cancer Centre. Now, however, it lies in a shambles. 

Incidentally, sources say, it’s the cervical cancer patients who are the worst hit as the toilets in the intracavitary brachytherapy wing have been rendered useless due to the flooding drainage water. “The internal drainage pipes in the hospital were installed more than 50 years ago. Leakage of waste water is quite common here as these rusted pipes have never been replaced in the hospital’s history,” said a health staff. 

Surprisingly, when a delegation of Telangana Government Doctors’ Association (TGDA) had highlighted the plight of doctors and patients at both Niloufer Hospital and the neighbouring MNJ Hospital last month, the government paid little heed. 

“We made presentations before the director of medical education as both hospitals have a common prob lem, but it fell on deaf ears. Ironically, the government is yet to spend a single rupee from the Rs 25 crore allotted to Niloufer in the last budget,” said Dr B Narahari, central executive member of TGDA. 

When contacted, Dr Putta Srinivas, who is now in-charge director of MNJ hospital in the absence of a full-time director, blamed the 50-year-old drainage pipelines connecting both Niloufer and MNJ hospitals. “Overflowing water entered the record room from a manhole under MNJ’s old hospital building due to release of excess drainage water from Niloufer hospital, which is located on an elevated position,” he said, adding that they have restored 1,000 case records.

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