A 10-minute video purportedly of waterlogging in a ward of the Dr Ulhas Patil Hospital in Jalgaon has gone viral in Maharashtra. In this video, patients can be seen shouting and crying, while saline bottles and medicines can be seen drowned in the water with. The video has brought much embarrassment to the state government, depicting the abysmal state of the healthcare system in the state.
As per reports, the incident happened in a temporary ward of the hospital. The administration shifted Covid-19 patients to special wards and other patients were shifted to the parking area. Hospital administration clarified that the ward is not permanent and the sudden heavy rain caused waterlogging around the hospital area. Jalgaon experienced 56 mm rainfall on June 13. "Nobody was expecting heavy rain at the beginning of the monsoon season. Outside the hospital, work on an overbridge is going on. So, there was waterlogging and the parking area was flooded," said Pramod Bhirud, administrative officer of the hospital.
In another instance, on June 1, an 82-year-old woman from Bhusawal was admitted to a Jalgaon hospital for Covid-19 treatment. On June 2, she went missing. Her body was found in one of the bathrooms eight days later. The state government has ordered an enquiry into the matter, suspending the Dean, Superintendent, a professor, nurse and a security Guard. It has also come to light that the district collector Avinash Dhakane had reported the mismanagement in Jalgaon hospitals to the state government. But the state's Medical Education Department ignored the collector's letter.
Till June 14, Jalgaon had recorded 131 COVID-19 deaths with a fatality rate of 7.69% [as against the fatality rate of 3.65% for the state]. The total number of cases stands at 1,702 including 668 recoveries, 903 active infections and 131 deaths. The state government sent a team of doctors and nurses to the city on Sunday to deal with the unfolding crisis.
"The criminal negligence of the city's health infrastructure over the years is the reason behind the current situation. Also, the state government has not prepared well. It could be busy in preparation for Mumbai and the region as it is the epicentre of Covid-19 [outbreak]. But unpreparedness, lack of proactive measures are the problems of the state government," said Srimant Mane, senior journalist and North Maharashtra Editor of Sakal newspaper.
Jalgaon guardian minister, Gulabrao Pati, said, “The people who have died had other diseases also. Age was also a factor. But more than that what we have found is that people are not coming out due to fear. That is delaying patients from reaching hospitals. So, we are now aggressively campaigning in the city and especially containment zones to make people aware of the need to come to the hospitals immediately.”
On the other hand, the state's Medical Education and Research Department claimed that it is working to upgrade the facilities in hospitals. "Now we have sent a team of doctors and nurses. Also, our experts from Pune will be visiting the Jalgaon hospital and also the district. I will not accept the criticism that we have woken up late. Health Minister Rajesh Tope visited Jalgaon in May and also in the first week of June. We are closely monitoring the situation from Mumbai," said Medical Education Minister Amit Deshmukh.