Shortage of beds at Teaching Hospital compromises patients’ health and safetyTribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH), a hospital renowned for quality care at affordable price, which sees patients in huge numbers on a daily basis is coming apart at the seams for lack of beds for incoming patients.
Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH), a hospital renowned for quality care at affordable price, which sees patients in huge numbers on a daily basis is coming apart at the seams for lack of beds for incoming patients. The emergency ward of the hospital presents a chaotic scene with more than one patient cramming into a single bed to seek treatment.
The hospital has 570 beds in total but over 1,800 out patients reach the hospital with over 200 visiting the emergency ward every day. The hospital has the capacity to admit 70 patients per day according to the number of discharged patients (outflow).
According to the hospital administration, there are only 54 beds in the emergency ward but the flow of patients is very high with four patients sharing one bed with some even on stools and wheelchairs during the treatment.
“We cannot return the patients seeking treatment at the hospital from the door for lack of beds. It is imperative that we provide them with treatment however possible,” Dr Prem Krishna Khadga, director at the TUTH told the Post.
The hospital, according to Khadga, refers patients to other hospitals if it cannot accommodate them.
As tertiary-level hospital, referral patients from across the country reach the TUTH.
“I have been in the emergency ward for the last 14 hours,” Ganesh Shah, a typhoid patient from Bara district, said on Saturday when the Post visited the Hospital. “The doctors here have been asking us to find beds at other hospitals but private hospitals are expensive and I can’t afford to seek treatment there.” Like Shah, hundreds of patients at the TUTH face similar problem on a regular basis.
The chances of spread of infection and transmission of diseases are high if patients are made to share beds with other patients.
The overall lack of beds in the hospital in the general ward, ICU and CCU, is also why the emergency ward is filled beyond capacity, according to Khadga. He said, “If we had sufficient beds in the hospital, we wouldn’t have to refer patients to other hospitals. However, we don’t have the resources or the budget to add manpower and facilities including beds.”
Institute of Medicine (IoM) of the Tribhuvan University, which runs the TUTH, said that it was not in the position to operate more beds in emergency ward or allot additional beds in other wards. “How can we run more beds or take more patients when it takes us more than two years to get one doctor at the hospital?” said Dr JP Jaiswal, dean of the IoM. He said that the hospital has been providing services to patients beyond its capacity even if it means accommodating more than one patient in one bed.
Meanwhile, a committee formed by the TU to recommend improvements at the TUTH, prepared its report with suggestions to make the hospital patient-friendly. The Professor Bhagwan Koirala-led committee suggested increase in the number of hospital beds; in ICU and CCU, operate their own ultrasound unit, run the already established cancer centre, among other suggestions.
Likewise, heart patients visiting Manmohan Cardiothoracic Vascular and Transplant Centre are also receiving treatment while sitting on chairs.
Professor Arun Shyami of Manmohan Cardiac Centre said that they were left with no option as the ward is reeling from shortage of beds. “We cannot deny services to patients in spite of shortage of beds,” said Shyami, who was also former dean of the IoM. He said that patients at the MCVTC do not share beds but take the treatment while sitting on a chair.