As per an RTI application filed by Sudhanshu Bhatt, media coordinator, Mumbai Pradesh Congress Committee, it has been revealed that there has been a rise in the number of mortality rates at JJ hospital. In the year 2014, the hospital witnessed 2612 deaths which increased to 3140 next year. The death toll further surged to 3340 in 2016. The figures have risen ever since the BJP government came to power in the state. Is the state government’s lackadaisical attitude towards healthcare responsible for rising number of deaths in the hospital? The increasing number of deaths in JJ hospital highlights the poor state of public health delivery system in the city.
According to Bhatt, on an average, 10 patients are dying in JJ hospital every month. He added that the RTI reply is not authentic as more lives have been lost as compared to what is mentioned in it. Whenever citizens try to call toll free numbers 104 and 108 provided for blood bank and ambulance, it remains inaccessible. The hospital has failed to provide basic amenities to patients as they have to visit other hospitals for seeking various medical treatments.
When AV spoke to Sudhanshu, he said, “The main objective behind filing a RTI application was that I wanted to know how many deaths are occurring in JJ hospital and what factors are responsible for it. Massive corruption is prevailing in the hospital. If the hospital witnesses 10 deaths in a month then it is unjustified. I wanted to know patients were diagnosed with which illness and what medications were offered to them prior to their death. However, I have not received any information from the hospital in this regard. They have only provided me the figures of how many deaths have occurred in the hospital. I had tweeted about this issue. We will impose pressure on the government to take action against those persons who are found guilty. I am worried about the hardships faced by poor patients while seeking medical treatment in the hospital.”
A medical practitioner from JJ hospital on the condition of anonymity said, “We will have to obtain information pertaining to this from Central Statistical Department. We try our best to offer treatment to patients irrespective of their financial background. If any patient dies due to prescription of wrong medicines then police complaint is filed against the doctor. Around 65,000 patients get admitted in the Mumbai metropolitan region every year. Of this 60 per cent patients belong to the city and 40 per cent come from outside. We will take steps to address the rising number of deaths in the hospital.”
Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar said, “The Chief Minister and Health Minister must look into this matter and take action against the errant officials. If a patient dies due to the doctor’s negligence then it is a serious matter.”