Local Goa News

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

If you have the money, there’s all kinds of un-official ‘help’ at GMC

Panaji : For more than ten years now, Zohra (name changed), 55, follows the same ritual every evening. She scans the beds in the women's wards of different departments at Goa Medical College (GMC) and hospital at Bambolim.

Zohra looks for patients whose family members have spent considerable time caring for them at the hospital and are now waiting to be relieved so that they can catch up on some much-needed rest at home. This is where Zohra, and others like her, step in. These women offer to relieve patient's relative of their duty for a price of 500 per shift. For the patient's kin, this is a welcome offer.
Zohra and her ilk are not trained nurses, but, with hands-on training over the years, can do everything a patient needs - from helping them use the bedpan to feeding and giving them a sponge bath. These private helpers at the government hospital are able to earn a much higher sum than they would doing other menial jobs, simply because the patients and their relatives are often desperately in need of assistance.
But, these untrained private nurses are not the only ones who see an opportunity for business at GMC. There are others too like Pradip (named changed), a homeless man.
At the out-patient departments (OPD) of GMC, the rush can be huge, requiring patients to queue up with their numbers even before day break at times, so their turn comes early. This is where Pradip offers help in exchange for a minor charge of approximately 100. He does the tough part of standing in the queue till the patient arrives at a convenient time, and this helps the homeless man earn a relatively easy living.
"The dealings with the private 'nurses' takes place between the patients and them. We have nothing to do with it. Where the persons waiting in queues for a fee is concerned, we are not aware of this practice," medical superintendent, GMC, Dr Sunanda Amonkar said.
There are yet others in the GMC parking lot who discreetly approach patients for taxi services. Many of them offer services in their private vehicles at a cost lower than those quoted by taxi owners stationed outside GMC.
There are private ambulances too, waiting in plenty at the complex to ferry patients home while they are still immobile.
"The community hospital at Canacona has very limited services so I had to get my wife to GMC when she needed an operation after she was left with several broken bones due to a bike accident. She has been at the hospital for nearly a month and I was there with her most of the time. But I had to go home for a couple of days at least to fetch a change of clothes so I hired the private help and they were efficient," said one relative of a patient.

TOI Goa News

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