Hospitals fret over BMC ban on cellphone towers


Even as doctors at Lilavati Hospital, Bandra, complained that deactivation of cellphone towers at the hospital was causing connectivity problems owing to BMC's policy of not allowing them above hospital buildings, there seems to be a confusion among several top city hospitals. Many hospitals said they were not aware of such a policy. Several doctors said policies should not be 'irrational' and must assess whether low or no connectivity will adversely impact patient care and hospital work.

At Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital in Andheri, cellphone antennae were replaced by microwave towers atop the building. "The hospital initiated the move on its own to help get better network, which is crucial for patient care. We cannot afford any breakdown of communication between patients and doctors and among doctors," said Dr Ram Narain, executive director of the hospital.

Sources at BMC-run Nair Hospital said they were not aware of any such circular from the civic body. A few doctors said no or little connectivity in the ICU was a major issue. "How will doctors function if there is no connectivity inside a hospital? How will patients or their relatives get in touch with us?" said a senior doctor.

Dr S Das, deputy dean of Nair Hospital, said the hospital does not have a celllphone tower. "But we have a booster antenna," he added.

Dr Gustad Daver, medical director of Hinduja Hospital at Mahim, said he was not aware of any circular issued to the hospital directing them to remove cellphone antennae. "We do have a booster antenna installed and have not yet faced connectivity issues," Daver said.

In reply to a text message on whether the BMC has issued a circular to hospitals that there should be no towers around the premises, BMC additional municipal commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar replied in the affirmative.

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