A new life


More than 28 newborn babies are being treated at NICU. Tak says everyday four to five babies are admitted. "All the babies admitted here are critical and need specialised care 24x7," he says.

As the hospital hit the headlines and both mainstream and separatist leaders threatened to start a mass agitation, the government panicked and senior politicians like chief minister, state and Union health ministers and senior bureaucrats started visiting the hospital. For the past five months, Dr Tak and his team have been trying to bring down the daily death count and their efforts have started showing results. The death rate at NICU has come down to half. "Earlier, we used to get a lot of VIP's in the unit. Now only senior doctors come here to check on the babies,'' he says.

Though Tak's working hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., they always stretch to late night. His mobile phone keeps ringing through the night as juniors seek his advice. "Presently, two postgraduates, one senior resident and 10 nurses and nursing orderlies are at the unit taking care of the sick babies, but the rush of patients is always there and the babies who are brought from far-flung areas need special attention, sometimes more than two hours each,'' says Tak. "Before the crisis, the NICU was located in a ward with minimal equipment and life-saving drugs. It was free for all. Every doctor, hospital staff attendant or visitor could enter at any time. Every three hours, a baby died. We could only watch them die," he says. He could do nothing as there was a dearth of everything. "Though there is still scope for improvement, now it looks like a perfect NICU ward. Only one attendant is allowed and proper hygiene is maintained to stop babies from picking infection. Now we have latest equipment available and drugs are provided free of cost to every patient,'' he says. He now feels satisfied as a doctor. "With the help of administration, the condition of the NICU is improving every day. I pray the system works like this forever.''

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