Nanded Govt Hospital Reports 13 Daily Deaths Amid Rain; 1200 Patients on 508 Beds

“On October 1st, my wife had a delivery. Five years after our marriage, we were blessed with a daughter. She was perfectly fine. However, the doctors decided to admit her to the NICU immediately. They gave me a list of medications and instructed me to bring them. The hospital didn’t have the required medications, so I had to source them from an external medical store. The staff at the hospital did not allow us to see our baby. At 7 o’clock in the evening, just 5 hours after birth, we were informed that my daughter had passed away due to a lack of oxygen.”

Anger at the State’s Largest Government Hospital in Nanded, Maharashtra

Dr. Shankarrao Chavan, the dean of Dr. Shankarrao Chavan Medical College in Nanded, expressed his anger about recent events at the largest government hospital in the South Hafiz Ansari district. In this hospital, within just 24 hours from September 30th to October 1st, 24 patients have died, including 12 newborns.

On October 2nd, Dr. Shankarrao Chavan revealed to the media that the Haffkine Institute, which supplies medicines to hospitals, has not been able to provide medications recently, leading to a reduction in the budget for critically ill patients. This shortage of medication can be critical for serious patients, and it cannot be ignored.

Now, to understand the situation in this hospital, Bhaskar reached Nanded. The District Magistrate, doctors, members of the inquiry committee, and patients were spoken to. Investigations have revealed that beds have been occupied by patients beyond the hospital’s capacity. In August and September, there were 13 deaths every day on average. Between October 1st and 6th, 68 patients, including 25 newborns, lost their lives.

Hospital with 508 Beds, Patients from 4 Nearby Districts

Dr. Shankarrao Chavan Medical College has the largest government hospital in Nanded with approximately 39.30 lakh residents. Patients from four nearby districts, Hingoli, Parbhani, Latur, and Yavatmal, also come here. Around 1200 patients are admitted to the 508 beds. Our first question was, “Are all deaths due to a lack of medicine in the hospital?” People responsible for patient care say that there are no medicines in the hospital, and the hospital management and the collector do not accept this.

Collector Says No Deaths Due to Lack of Medicine in Government Hospital

When Nanded’s Collector, Abhijit Raut, arrived at the hospital, he was asked about the deaths and the shortage of medicines. He said, “A committee, including the Director of Medical Education and Research and members, was formed. They have submitted a report to the government. According to the initial data, there were 24 deaths on October 1, 2022. Among them, there were 12 extralow and 12 extrahigh-risk group patients. Most of the patients were such that the possibility of survival was very low.”

“The number of deaths is slightly higher than usual, but it doesn’t mean our healthcare system has completely collapsed. It is not appropriate to blame the hospital for more deaths in one day. The investigation committee has stated that there was no shortage of medicine in the hospital. We are providing all essential medicines to living patients from the hospital itself,” he added.

Director of Medical Education: No Shortage of Medicines in Any Government Hospital

The investigation into the deaths in Nanded is being conducted by a team led by Dr. Dilip Mhaiskar, Director of Medical Education and Research. Speaking with Bhaskar, Dr. Mhaiskar said, “I can confidently say that there is no shortage of medicines in any government hospital in Maharashtra, not just in Nanded.” Dr. Mhaiskar also revealed, “In all hospitals, there is a reserve stock of medicines for three months. If the supply of medicines from the Health Department is not available, we purchase medicines from outside two months in advance. We can also purchase medicines directly from the Ministry of AYUSH portal of the Indian government.”

Government Hospitals Haven’t Bought Medicines for 4 Months

Dr. Mhaiskar stated, “For the past four months, we have stopped purchasing medicines from the Halfkin Institute. Now, most of the major medicines are being purchased through the Central Government’s portal. Apart from this, 30% of the budget is allocated to the hospital, from which they can purchase medicines as per their needs. The issue of medicines has been unnecessarily hyped.”

Serious Patients Are Admitted, So More Deaths Occur

Regarding the question of deaths in government hospitals, Dr. Mhaiskar said, “Here, most of the patients come in critical conditions. The chances of their survival are very low. As of now, the mortality rate in the last month was only 12%. On October 1, a significant number of deaths occurred in private hospitals. When their condition deteriorated, they were referred to government hospitals. Six children were incubated immediately after arrival. Unfortunately, six of them died within six hours.”

No Shortage of Staff in Hospitals, Full Complement of Doctors as per Guidelines

Responding to questions about the shortage of nursing staff in government hospitals, Dr. Mhaiskar said, “In Maharashtra, there is indeed a shortage of nursing staff. Out of 14,339 posts of Grade 3 nursing, 39% are vacant. Government medical colleges have a total of 36,131 posts from Grade 1 to 4, out of which 15,044 are vacant. In addition, 40% of positions for assistant professors, 44% of positions for associate professors, and more than 40% of posts for post-graduate are vacant. Temporary employees in hospitals are currently working overtime.”

Bombay High Court Asks Government – What Did You Do for Doctors’ Recruitment?

Although a report on the investigation into hospital deaths has been prepared, it has not been made public. This is because the matter is sub judice, pending hearing in the Bombay High Court. The court has observed that government hospitals are under pressure and admitting more patients, leading to more patients being referred to them. It has also stated that no blame can be attributed to any doctor or hospital in such cases

People Say – “No Medicines in Hospitals, Doctors Ask to Bring from Outside”

Officials spoke to us, and we met patients and their relatives afterward. We met Ritu Kolambikar. Her father has kidney disease and has been admitted for 4 days. Ritu says, “In one day, the hospital has given us medicines for only one day, even though they have it in stock. They are telling us to bring medicines from outside now.”

Ritu showed a simple paper slip with the names of medicines written on it. There was no doctor’s name or seal on it. The Mumbai High Court has stated that if any doctor writes prescriptions without a letterhead and the medical store provides medicine without a medical prescription, they are at fault. Ritu’s prescription slip is also like this.

Providing Medicines Without Prescriptions and Bills

We spoke to people and reached the hospital gate. There is a line of seven medical stores 50 meters away from the main entrance. We found that people coming from the government hospital had slips at every store. Most of them had the same paper slip. Here, we met Kiran Shidke, who works at Gurukripa Medical Store. She says, “Out of the patients coming from the hospital, 10-12% get medicines from us.” When we asked about providing medicines based on the prescription, Ramesh said, “This is a small medicine, so we can provide it. We consider this slip as a doctor’s prescription. Government doctors don’t have a prescription pad, so they give us these slips.”

Every Patient Requires Medicines from Outside…

Ahmed Sheikh, a health beat reporter covering Nanded for 15 years, says, “This hospital started in 2015. For the first year, everything was normal. Slowly, due to staff shortages, the situation deteriorated. Now, the hospital runs only on resident doctors.” Here, there are always senior doctors and ample stock of medicines. Only emergency medicines are unavailable, but primary medicines are also in short supply. Every patient has to buy medicines from outside, ranging from Rs. 5,000 and above.”

Government Hospital’s Process of Buying Medicines

A female doctor from Nanded’s government hospital explained the process of buying medicines without revealing her identity. She said, “When medicines are about to run out, we inform the hospital’s medical store. We have to let the head of our department know about it. The DMER (Directorate of Medical Education and Research) also receives information. DMER purchases 70% of medicines from the ‘Halfkin Life Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing Corporation’ of the Maharashtra government, and the remaining 30% is supplied to the hospital from outside. Apart from this, the power to purchase emergency medicines directly from the market lies with the hospital’s dean.”

Former CM’s Allegation – Pediatric Ward Operates with the Help of Three Nurses

In the pediatric ward of the hospital, there are only three nurses responsible for caring for 60 children. Whenever we asked them about the claims of having all the medicines available in the hospital, they said, “If there are all the medicines in the hospital, why do the patients buy medicines from outside even today? I have purchased medicines worth Rs. 5 lakhs for this hospital just two days ago.” Regarding the hospital’s condition, Ashok Chavan says, “In the entire pediatric ward, there are only three nurses. They are responsible for taking care of 60 children. Each set of three children is kept in an incubator tray. We are trying to hide all these cases. More than a thousand people are admitted to the 500-bed hospital. We have found out that doctors appointed here are being transferred to nearby districts with allegations of misconduct.”

35% Increase in Deaths in 9 Months

We have obtained the statistics of deaths that occurred in the hospital in the last three years. It is observed that the number of deaths has increased significantly in September. In January, there were 264 deaths, which increased by 35% to 401 deaths in September. This year, 56,414 patients have been admitted to the hospital in 9 months, out of which 2,700 have died. Furthermore, it is noticeable that more deaths have occurred in August and September in 2021, 2022, and 2023. The monsoon season is in full swing, and the winter season has begun. In the last three years, the highest number of 447 deaths occurred in April 2021, during the COVID-19 period. After that, there were 401 deaths in September 2023. In the last 33 months, 9,489 patients have died in this hospital. During this time, 1.88 lakh patients have been admitted.

After this investigation, we reached people who have lost their loved ones due to patient deaths. Anusuya Kale, a 36-year-old resident of Nanded, says, “After many desires, a child was born 12 years later. Just four months after that, he started having trouble breathing, so we took him to the hospital.” When he died on October 1, the media started coming. People were told about the deteriorating condition of the hospital. Due to this, the doctors got angry and stopped treating my daughter. That’s why he died.” Although the hospital management denied Anusuya Kale’s allegations, stating that the child had a heart condition from birth, and she could not be saved.

Case of Unnoticed Homicide Before Hospital’s Dean

Dr. Shyamrao Waghode, the Executive Dean and doctor at S.R. Chavan Hospital, has been informed about a case of unnoticed homicide. An FIR has been filed in the case of the death of a 21-year-old woman and her newborn baby after delivery.

Major Waste Problem in the Hospital

Dr. Shankarrao Chavan, a government hospital located about 8 kilometers from Vishnupuri Colony in Nanded city, has a significant waste problem. You can see a lot of garbage in many places as you pass through the hospital’s grand gate. There used to be animals on the campus. A large heap of medical waste was found right next to the hospital’s washing plant. Medical waste was also found being carried on a stretcher by a patient. Sheikh Tajuddin, who has been working as a casual staff at the hospital since 1995, said that sometimes garbage is thrown here. Collectors Abhijit Raut says, “This hospital is located between two villages. Therefore, animals come here from those villages. That is why animals come here. We are slowly trying to move everyone away.”

Anusha Aggarwal

My name is Anusha Aggarwal. With a deep fascination for the science behind health, hair care, skin care, and body care, I'm a dedicated writer committed to helping readers achieve optimal wellness. Through years of research and personal experience, I provide expert insights into the latest trends and techniques in the beauty and wellness.