The recent death of two ICU patients due to power outages at Vijayanagara Institute of Medical Sciences (VIMS) in Ballari has raised serious concerns about patient safety, even as September 17 is observed as World Patient Safety Day. was celebrated.
A five-member team is investigating the matter. Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar will also visit the hospital on Sunday to take stock of the situation.
This is not the first time the safety of patients at VIMS has been at stake. In 2017, a major part of the roof of an operation theater in the ground floor of the OT campus at the institute collapsed. Fortunately, there were no casualties as no surgery was being performed at that time.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), unsafe drug practices and medication errors are a major cause of avoidable harm in health care. Medication errors occur when a weak drug system and human factors such as fatigue, poor environmental conditions or staff shortages affect the safety of the drug use process. This can result in serious patient damage, disability and even death.
However, it is not only unsafe drug practices that can result in serious harm to the patient. Several cases of death of patients on ventilators in ICUs due to lack of oxygen, power outages and even fires have been reported from various states including Karnataka.
death of chamarajnagar
The death of 24 patients due to lack of oxygen at the Chamarajanagar district hospital in May 2021 created an uproar during the pandemic. A committee of two retired high court judges set up to probe the tragedy said the lack of oxygen was due to the dean of Chamarajanagar Institute of Medical Sciences (CIMS) and the district surgeon in-charge, a microbiologist, not displaying leadership qualities. and failed to efficiently marshal the available resources to save lives.
Sources in some district hospitals attached to government medical colleges under the Department of Medical Education said the heads of these hospitals have limited power to take major decisions regarding hospital maintenance. “Despite being autonomous institutions, they have to take prior approval from higher authorities for all major functions. Such bureaucratic hurdles can be disastrous,” the sources said.
Sources also said that prompt and prompt action is of paramount importance in times of crisis. Last month, a reputed government tertiary care hospital in Bengaluru faced an emergency after a BASCOM transformer exploded in the hospital premises. Due to this the power supply of the hospital was stalled for about eight hours. “The hospital authorities ensured that the power supply was uninterrupted by moving the generators. Diesel worth over ₹6 lakh was used in a day,” said sources.
‘Cure should not be more harmful than disease’
Listing out the various aspects that need attention in terms of patient safety, CN Manjunath, Director, Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research said, “The treatment should not be more harmful than the disease. Any surgical intervention should be done only if there is a real indication or need for it. ,
Among other aspects, Dr Manjunath said that proper care should be taken while transferring the patients to the ambulance. “Wheelchairs should have belts, beds should have railings, AC ducts should be properly sealed, toilets and bathrooms should have grab bars,” he said.
Stating that renewal of maintenance contracts for all essential services like generators, electrical sub-stations, diesel plant oxygen supply and patient lifts should not be delayed, he said, “Regular fire safety exercises should be conducted. There should be a dedicated engineering cell consisting of civil, electrical, mechanical and biomedical engineers and should be continuously audited. ,