Tribune News Service
Bathinda, November 24
Cancer patients are left to fend for themselves as elevators at the Advanced Cancer Institute and Hospital have been lying non-functional for the past few months. Left with barely any alternative, cancer patients can be seen climbing stairs. Those who cannot walk have to use wheelchairs and they have to go to three stories of the hospital through the ramps.
Guran Bai (65), a throat cancer patient, was taken to the ground floor from the first floor in a wheelchair by her grandson Gurpreet Singh.
Gurpreet said, “We are from Abohar district and have been coming here for treatment of my grandmother for the past three months. There are lifts installed in the hospital, but they do not work. Each time we had to use the ramps to move inside the hospital. I do not consider it as a problem for myself. But, it irritates me when my grandmother has to bear a lot of trouble in moving in the hospital.”
“What is the use of spending crores of rupees to introduce such plush buildings and infrastructure when the most basic need for easy and hassle-free movement of patients cannot be guaranteed? If the lifts have been installed in the hospital, these must function. If these develop a snag, the persons concerned must fix these on priority. We have been visiting the hospital for months, but we could not avail the facility,” he added.
Since the lifts are non-functional, cancer patients, especially those who could not walk properly, had reach the first floor through the ramps or stairs. A large number of cancer patients from the region, including neighbouring states such as Haryana and Rajasthan, visit the Advanced Cancer Institute and Hospital to receive treatment on a daily basis.
Notably, there has been a significant increase in the number of cancer patients at the hospital for over four years. It was set up in 2016.
According to the data of the Health Department, as many as 6,233 patients (new and old) visited the outpatient department (OPD) in 2016. The number reached 14,802 in 2018. More than 10,000 patients (new and old) visited this year.
A few months ago, Bathinda Tribune had highlighted that air-conditioners (ACs) and lifts at the hospital were non-operational. Later, ACs were fixed, but the lifts have been functioning on an erratic basis since then. The matter has been highlighted on numerous occasions in the past, but to no avail.
The authorities at the cancer hospital said lifts were made operational a few days ago. But on a reality check, it was found that only lights on the buttons were blinking. The lifts were not moving or carrying the patients.
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