22May2017

Nizam-era Chest Hospital in ruins

Everybody is eagerly awaiting the ensuing monsoon but not the authorities and patients at the AP General and Chest Hospital at Erragadda. Over the last few days, doctors here have been living on tenterhooks fearing that the hospital housed in the over-a-century-old Irranuma Palace might give way because of rain.

The building, though declared unfit for use by the AP Health, Medical Housing and Infrastructure Development Corporation, roads and buildings department as well as the GHMC, is still being used due to space crunch despite weak walls and massive leakages in the roof. Currently, around 100 patients are being accommodated on the ground floor and what remains of the first floor of the two-storied structure. The roof of the other half portion on the first floor has collapsed.

Authorities said that the pulmonary department, acute respiratory unit, sterilization, X-ray units and the department dealing with lung problems are functioning from the dilapidated premises. “Fortunately we have been safe all these years but the structure has gone from bad to worse. We have been asking for a separate building for several years now but there is no headway,” says a doctor.

Dr P N S Reddy, superintendent, Chest Hospital, said that the government would have to take responsibility for any eventuality. “Due to massive leakages, patients are forced to sleep under the cots whenever it rains. We have no right to play with the lives of patients,” says Dr Reddy, who had earlier even put in his papers to protest the poor condition of the hospital, which was not accepted.

Doctors say that the 65-acre premise has vast vacant land and new construction can be taken up without any hassles.

The 740-bed teaching-cum-general hospital and medical college announced by the state government on the premises of the hospital in January 2008 has also hit a roadblock. The TB and Chest Hospital at S R Nagar currently sits on 65 acres, of which only a part is occupied by the hospital buildings and the rest is open space.

For close to two decades now, successive health secretaries and ministers have recommended that the hospital be turned into a general hospital but the plan has remained on paper.

Built nearly a century ago and donated by the VII Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan, the structure was identified as a heritage building but its recognition is still pending with the heritage committee of the HMDA.

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