GMC Jammu A long way to go

Rajan Gandhi
What is the condition of medical resources in India and the answer is definitely a shortage of doctors, nurses and paramedical staff. On an average we have one allopathic doctor for every 1,800 people, rural and urban combined. We have 32,000 undergraduates passing out each year seeking post graduation seats, which are 10,000 in number. A lot of undergraduates who have completed MBBS are therefore left disappointed. AIIMS and PGI are the main medical face of the country and do invest significantly in training and research, areas in which very few private institutes invest.
At AIIMS approximately 650 teachers, all super specialists, put in 36,000 hours a year to train the generation next of Indian medicine. MBBS students rub shoulders with the veterans for 1,000 hours of clinical experience, getting their hands dirty in the 120 laboratories up to six hours a week, with 71,827 books, 568 digital databases and over 80,000 journals in the library; they burn the midnight oil along with their teachers publishing the largest quantum of medical research in the country. An institute where the best medical minds come together to understand mechanisms of diseases and thus evolving trail blazing therapies. Recommended by Bhore Committee in 1946, piloted by India’s first health minister, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur and funded by New Zealand under the Colombo Plan, the foundation stone was laid in 1952. Although envisioned as a referral, over the years it has grown to be India’s busiest hospital with 25 lakh outpatients, 1.5 lakh inpatients, 1.8 lakh emergencies and 1.31 surgeries a year-catering to prime ministers as well as to the common man. It’s a unique journey of clinical milestones and research breakthroughs. Students here are challenged to dream, to aim for the stars and to put their heart into.
Similarly, PGIMER, Chandigarh, an institute which came up in 1962 under the responsibility of the Punjab government and in 1967 was designated an institute of national importance and since then is governed by an act of parliament. From computerization of labs to introduction of a token system at OPDs and placement of information kiosks in all buildings, PGIMER has become more patient-friendly .The tertiary care institute of PGI, which receives about 10,000 patients daily, has adopted a hospital management system with 20 integrated software modules, covering the general OPDs, specialties, super-specialties of about 80 wards. Under ADT (Admission, discharge and transfer) module, nurses in all 80 wards have been keeping an electronic tracking of patients from the point of admission, acceptance in the wards, transfer from one ward to another, until their discharge. An SMS facility for informing patients when their reports are ready to be accessed from the web is very much part of present day PGI. The institute has connected all radio-diagnosis machines to the network in order to give access to MRI and CT scan images in OPDs which is going to help doctors in better patient management. The resident staff is dedicated with backpacks, accented English and passion for work. PGI mainly runs on the strength of its residents in ICUs, emergency, and wards.
Now come to our own GMC, also established way back in 1973 and shifted to Bakshi Nagar Building in 1993, right now five teaching hospitals namely, Medical college hospital, CD hospital, SMGS hospital, Psychiatry hospital and Dental hospital are associated with GMC Jammu with total bed capacity of 1700. There are 800 doctors including faculty and residents, 1000 Paramedical Staff including supervisory staff, 1500 Class-III and IV employees working in the college and its associated hospitals, but not withstanding the claims of the Government to improve the medical facilities in the State ,situation is really dismal. Shortage of staff on every front, the State Government for years together has failed to fill up the vacant posts in the GMC faculty despite knowing fully that Medical College Jammu is always overburdened with the rush of patients. Leave alone the establishment of full-fledged trauma centre at GMC Jammu even in ordinary accidental cases people prefer to go to PGI, CMC, AIIMS and Amritsar for specialized ortho surgeries due to lack of   services at GMC. Public prefer to look for these institutes along with private hospitals like Fortis, Vedanta, Escorts etc for even minor heart or other ailments- trusting more of these hospitals for obvious reasons. Seriousness of the authorities can be gauged from the fact that there is no biometric attendance system right now in place on a silly pretext that all employees are not having aadhaar registration with the result supporting staff busy with their own patients, technicians running their own laboratories and senior doctors keeping their patients waiting for hours together.
PGI – Chandigarh is able to generate every year 50 crore on account of extra service they are providing to patients who can afford and the money so collected is pumped back to the institute for welfare of poor and staff. Long back similar kind of activity was started at GMC also under Col. Chopra Nursing Home, but since had been closed reasons better known to authorities.GMC and associated hospitals can start evening paid OPD’s with retired and serving doctors and other staff at a reasonable fee to ease the daytime pressure of OPD’s and relief to working class .With literally no expansion of faculty residential quarters – doctors are residing at their own houses or rented accommodations and as such on call emergency cases suffer. Similar is the case with students, with increase in number of sanctioned strength no additional boys or girls hostel are available right now and students are left to arrange on their own at the cost of their studies.
The prevailing state of affairs in the Medical College has resulted into the problems to the patients coming for treatment here from far-flung areas of Jammu region who have no other option but to go to private clinics of these very doctors. The failure of State Government to make the GMC Jammu functional properly puts a question mark on Government’s sincerity to establish five more Medical Colleges; foundation stone of three colleges has already been laid and almost defunct Super Specialty Hospital. Leave alone the common masses; the very fact that a case of dengue of son of a ruling party senior MLC could not be handled properly at GMC and the case is very much in the court of law speaks about the stark reality.
All private hospitals in Jammu invite leading-renowned specialists from other leading private hospitals for running OPDs as well as specialized surgeries and as such why can’t our own GMC collaborate with leading government hospitals like AIIMS, PGI and others for opening of trauma centre’s as well as perform specialized surgeries and treatment. This will not only give a big relief to the masses but will provide faculty and students to learn from the best in their respective fields with latest techniques. Politicians from all parties can unite on this issue and demand for this special gesture from the Centre. This will be true implementation of special status of the state.
With serpentine queues at different counters, critically ill patients stretched on cold, metallic trolleys in the emergency, and harried droves swarming every inch of space in the OPD, GMC intimidates even from a distance. Young resident doctors scurrying through the maze, some of them working tirelessly, dispatching some to other destinations as well as taking in their stride patients who lost the fight in the course of the night, it is surreal to watch the spectacle unfold in an indeterminate zone of life and death. With families sleeping under the trees on cold winter nights teaches fortitude, birds on those trees bursting into song at sunset are a lesson in the mosaic of joy and sorrow, music and mourning which are absorbed in the corridors when the dead are wheeled out and the sick wheeled in. A sense of resigned calm settles on the faces of surroundings but who cares as the “death bed” is being cleaned for another patient, the routine goes on and on.
“Nobody thinks or feels or cares anymore; nobody gets excited or believes in anything except their own.”