Shimla, September 19
There is an acute shortage of beds in the chemotherapy ward of the Regional Cancer Centre at Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital, Shimla. There are just 17 beds in the ward even though around 50-70 cancer patients are administered chemotherapy and related treatment on a daily basis.
Undergoing treatment on Dental chairs
- Due to bed shortage, several patients are given chemo and related treatment on dental chairs
- As chemo session lasts three to four hours, patients don’t feel as comfortable on chairs as on beds
Dr Manish Gupta, Head of the Department of Radiology, feels the problem can be resolved by running two shifts in the chemotherapy ward. “Two shifts will address the problem to a large extent, but the problem is we don’t have adequate nursing staff. If more nursing staff is provided to us, we can run two shifts for the patients,” he said. Currently, there are 10 nursing staffers at the cancer facility. “Of them, we can spare just five-six for the chemo ward at a given time as others are engaged in night duty and other tasks,” he said.
Due to the shortage of beds, several patients are administered chemo and related treatment on dental chairs that are placed in the adjacent hallway. As the chemotherapy session lasts three to four hours, patients don’t feel as comfortable on these chairs as on beds. “You want to lie down during chemotherapy, but it’s not possible on the chair,” said a patient. As patients come from far-off places for chemo and want to leave for home the same evening, doctors and nursing staff try to administer chemo to as many patients as possible. “Most patients find it difficult to stay overnight in Shimla. So, we try to accommodate as many patients as possible despite the shortage of beds. Having said that, we must have additional space for laying out more beds for the patients,” said a doctor from the hospital.
Besides, there’s no covered area for the attendants accompanying the patients. They have to be outside the ward until the chemotherapy is over. “It gets very cold outside, especially during the winter and when it rains,” said an attendant. IGMC Principal Dr Sita Thakur said most of the problems the cancer patients and attendants were facing at the moment would be resolved shortly as the new building of the cancer hospital was almost ready. “Over 95% work of the building is complete. Once it gets functional, patients and attendants wouldn’t face these problems,” she said.
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