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For the last 10 days, patients, doctors and staff of the 350-bed Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Railways Hospital in Byculla have been suffering due to severe water shortage. Due to lack of water, two major surgeries have been postponed so far and many wards have not had enough water, putting patients in difficulty. However, the nurses and their families living in the hospital’s staff quarters seem to be the most severely affected of the lot. Several of them complained that they did not have sufficient drinking water in their houses. Moreover, the water that the hospital has been sourcing from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) tankers is of substandard quality. One of the nurses working in the officer’s ward said, “I have had no water in my house for the last four to... Read more...
five days. I have been getting water from the wards for my family to drink. Some patients have been getting water from the electrician’s quarters.” When DNA contacted the medical director of the hospital Dr Mahendra Lakde, he initially denied the hospital facing any water shortage. On further inquiry, he conceded that they were using water from the tankers, but said that no surgeries had been postponed because of the water shortage. “The water provided by the tankers is sufficient and there have been no problems in the operations of the hospital,” Lakde said. On visiting the hospital, DNA found that two surgeries had indeed been postponed due to lack of water, contradicting Lakde’s claim. 74-year-oldChotelal Gupta, one of the patients to be operated on, was suffering from kidney stones and had his operation postponed from June 13 to June 18. In his medical file, it is clearly written that the operation was postponed due to water shortage. A nurse working in the surgery ward said that the water the received from the tankers was of a very poor quality and that patients and those living in the nurses’ quarters were suffering from stomach problems because of it. However, an official from the hospital’s lab said that they had been testing the water daily and it has so far been proved drinkable. RD Bendkhale, an official at the waterworks department of the BMC, said that this shortage was due to a problem with the air locks and would be sorted within two days.