Inadequate infection control puts patients’ health at risk in Bone & Joint Hospital

The lack of drainage system is adding to the danger of hospital acquired infections among patients.

ZEHRU NISSA
Srinagar, Publish Date: Aug 13 2017 1:06AM | Updated Date: Aug 13 2017 1:06AM
Inadequate infection control puts patients’ health at risk in Bone & Joint HospitalGK Photo

The “inadequate” infection control mechanisms and unchecked flow of attendants is putting patients’ health at risk in Bone and Joint (B&J) Hospital here. 

The lack of drainage system is adding to the danger of hospital acquired infections among patients. 

At B&J Hospital, the Kashmir lone tertiary care Trauma Hospital, poor sanitation of premises is posing risk of infections to patients as well as the staff. The hospital bears an unkempt look, with litter strewn around, and dusty front and back lawns ample with potholes. The corridors have broken floors, crevices full of grime and dust. The walls are dirty, cracked at places. “By the look of it, one can see how much attention is being paid to cleanliness here,” a senior doctor at the hospital said.

Official source at B&J Hospital said that the hospital had no sewage treatment plant (STP) and no drainage system leading to backflow in hospital washrooms and causes stench.

“If the hospital washrooms are overflowing with sewage, infection is not far,” he said. Another source at the hospital said that the emergency operation theatre of the hospital did not practice adequate sterilization and very often the same equipment was used on many patients without sterilizing it properly.

“On any given day, patient list is so long that there is no time for sterilization,” the source, who is a surgeon at the hospital, said.

A source at the hospital said that there was unrestricted entry of attendants of patients to high risk areas such as Intensive Care Units and Post-Operative Ward, a “huge infection risk”. 

In addition to unclean environs, the “inadequate sterilisation” in many high risk areas was adding to the risk to patients with infections whilst they are admitted. Doctors at the hospital voiced concern over “complacency towards infection control”, a scenario that they said could lead to Hospital acquired infections (HAI).

Moreover, doctors said, each patient was accompanied by a number of attendants and that was adding to the load on “already crumbling” hospital amenities.

The hospital was hit by floods in 2014, as a result of which one of its buildings was devastated and declared unsafe. Other buildings of the hospital also suffered damage but till date, much of the repair work is yet to start.

For patients at the hospital, who are unable to see the risk of infection, the dirty environs are nevertheless “unbearable”. However, the hospital being the only tertiary care Trauma Hospital in Kashmir, and given the incidence of accidents, it is “flooded” with patients on most days.

“The beds in wards are so close to each other that there is no space to walk. The wards, washrooms, corridors are so dirty, that it is difficult to stand near them,” Mushtaq Ahmed, attendant of a patient admitted at this hospital said. He added that his mother had been re-admitted to the hospital after she developed infection following her previous surgery at the hospital.

“In such dirty wards and environs, how will a patient not develop infection,” he said.

Medical Superintendent B&J Hospital agreed that hospital drainage and sanitation was an issue. “We have already sought renovation of the drainage system. This is a 37-year old hospital, many things need upgradation here,” he said.

He added that the hospital sanitation had been outsourced but the administration was keeping “a watch on everything”.

He said that the load of attendants was “a grave concern” and the hospital was mulling strict checks on the number of attendants per patient.  “It is very difficult to restrict entry of attendants. Many times, our doctors and staff are manhandled when they try to stop a person from entering a restricted area,” he said.

He said that hospital theatres had “advanced vacuum sterilizers” and said that sterilization of equipment was being carried out “as per norms”.