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Space Crunch Hits Maternity Care at SMGS Hospital

Pregnant women have been facing a harrowing time at Shri Maharaja Gulab Singh (SMGS) Hospital, the state’s oldest health institution, owing to space crunch. At least three expectant mothers share a bed at the labor room here at any given time. All expansion plans of the hospital are facing legal and administrative impediments, making the patients and their attendants suffer. Established in 1940, the lone tertiary care maternity facility caters to all 10 districts of the region. The labor room of the hospital has 48 beds, but the number of pregnant women remains between 130 and 150 per day. “It is difficult for doctors and paramedical staff to handle delivery cases as two-three women share one bed at any given time. How can three women in labor pain share a single bed?” a doctor said.

More than 75 deliveries take place at the hospital on a daily basis despite the fact that it has been grappling with space crunch. “The hospital has been bursting at the seams with referral patients from various district and sub-district hospitals. Being the lone tertiary care maternity hospital in the Jammu region, patients and their attendants prefer to get medical treatment from here. Besides, district and sub-district hospitals do not have adequate infrastructure to deal with critical cases, forcing doctors to refer patients to the institution,” said a health department official. More intriguing is the fact that after the caesarean section, patients are forced to discharge after three to four days instead of the mandatory seven-eight days.

Dr Raj Kumar Sangra, medical superintendent, SMGS Hospital, said, “Under the expansion plan, we proposed a 275-bed maternity block, but it faced impediments due to litigations and problems in the tendering process.” “On an average, 75 deliveries take place in the hospital on a daily basis. We don’t have much space in the recovery ward. There are only 240 beds for gynecology and obstetrics patients. We need a long-term planning for expansion. I had put forth a suggestion that adjacent ayurvedic hospital should be shifted to Ayurvedic College in Akhnoor, while the Directorate of Health Services, being congested, should also be moved out. It will help in the expansion of the hospital,” he said. – Tribune India

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