Manipal Hospital ICU ransacked in Nepal

Saturday, November 13, 2010

KATHMANDU - The Manipal Teaching Hospital run by Indias Manipal Group in Nepal stopped all but emergency services for a day after vandals attacked its intensive care unit (ICU), injuring even some of the patients undergoing treatment there.

We resumed services today after a meeting at the police station and were assured of security, B.M. Nagpal, dean at the Manipal College of Medical Sciences that runs the 700-bed hospital, told IANS Saturday.

Though we dont say doctors and hospitals are infallible, surely theres a way of registering complaints instead of attacking doctors, destroying valuable equipment and even causing injuries to seriously ill patients.

The official said a small group of people strode into the ICU Thursday evening and started breaking the glass and destroying equipment after a patient, referred to another hospital for emergency treatment, died on the way.

A 43-year-old man had been admitted to the hospital in Pokhara city earlier this week after he incurred a head injury.

He had brain haemorrhage and needed immediate surgery, Nagpal said. As we did not have a neurosurgeon, we advised his family to take him immediately to Kathmandu. We asked them to fly him to the capital but they chose to take him by road, which meant a nearly six-hour journey.

Nagpal said though it was not the hospitals responsibility to provide oxygen cylinders, which should have been provided by the ambulance, the doctor on duty gave two cylinders and instructed the patients family how to use it.

However, he said they had notched up the flow of the life-giving gas and the cylinders became empty, causing the death of the patient on the way to Kathmandu.

Following the death, the hospital came under attack, forcing it to suspend most services Friday.

Following protracted political instability in Nepal and a growing culture of impunity, hospitals and doctors have been coming regularly under attack by patients families and friends.

About a week ago, another hospital in Pokhara, the Charak, was shut down in protest for three days after it came under a similar attack.

The Manipal itself has had more than its fair share of trouble. It was attacked after a patient wandered off from her ward and last year suffered militant demands by trade unions belonging to the ruling parties as well as the opposition Maoists.

A joint venture between Indias Manipal Group and the government of Nepal, Manipals expansion plans in Nepal have been put on hold due to the continuing turmoil.

Filed under: Accidents and Disasters

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