BMC cell tower policy disconnects Lilavati Hospital

The flipside of the BMC policy banning installation of cellular phone towers atop and around hospitals has come to the fore.

Doctors complained deactivation of towers at Lilavati Hospital was causing connectivity problems, so much that communication on the premises had become difficult affecting patient care.

Relatives of several patients also complained "no connectivity" was making it tough for them to contact doctors. People on almost all floors of the hospital building were seen trying to position phones in such a way to catch network.

"The towers were deactivated three weeks ago. Doctors and patients are suffering due to this. They are unable to get in touch with us. We are not able to contact fellow doctors for expert/second opinion. This could seriously impact patient care," a doctor said.

The civic body has banned installation of cell phone towers within 100 metres of hospitals and schools.

The sources, however, claimed studies by service providers, who measured radiation levels from cell phone towers on hospital premises, revealed the maximum radiation was "way below" the permissible limit of 0.45 watt per square metre.

"The hospital can at least install signal enhancing devices such as network boosters," another doctor said.

Relatives of patients complained they had to step out each time to contact a doctor or patient.

Altaf Khan, friend of a patient, said: "When I called land line, the doctor was not in his seat. So, the only way to reach him was via cell phone. To make a call, we have to go near the exit of the hospital or out."

Usha Shah, whose son has been admitted to the hospital for an operation, tried for hours but could not reach a relative who was with her son before the surgery. "I have been trying to reach my relative to check status and to know if they need anything. With network at the hospital so poor, I am worried," she said.

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