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Andhra Pradesh - Hyderabad Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Gandhi Hospital begins a new era

By Our Staff Reporter

HYDERABAD, JUNE 14. Leaking roofs, chocked drains, stinking premises and a congested neighbourhood shared with the Secunderabad Railway Station and Monda Market became history for the 153-year-old Gandhi Hospital as it finally opened a new chapter at Musheerabad on Monday.

Construction material strewn about, labourers running around and regular truckload of equipment seemed to be something normal, while the hospital authorities, on the other side, termed the flow of patients `tremendous' as the out-patient and emergency wards were thrown open for the public from 9 a.m.

Amidst all the commotion, at the entrance of the new block stood a shining plaque with names of several VIPs, including that of the former Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, etched on it. The plaque was unveiled on November 21, 2003, to mark the inauguration of the new premises. Security guard Srisailam, who has been with the hospital for over a decade now, points at it and says: "This plaque hardly tells the story behind this premises, saab," and then delves into his memory, recalling a hot first day of May way back in 1987, when the then Chief Minister, N.T. Rama Rao, laid the foundation stone for construction of the new building in place of what was earlier a jail.

For Gandhi Hospital, setting up as a mediocre sickbay with three wards in 1851 looking after British residents of Secunderabad, was the beginning of a crusade. What was named the Cantonment Hospital at the beginning of the 20th century by its first superintendent, Lt. Col. C.M. Thompson, and later, as King Edward Memorial Hospital in 1913, was then pushed into a dilemma, as the Government dilly-dallied and put the shifting proposal on the backburner.

However, the 204-day strike by doctors and other well-wishers of the hospital in 2002 bore fruit and on Monday, the hospital, after being forced into a cowering position for 17 long years, stood straight and welcomed the middle class.

The final touches, in the meanwhile, are being added, with a parallel emergency ward set up on the old premises as a safeguard for three days, while on the new premises, work is in progress for the emergency, out-patient and radiology blocks. These departments are now housed temporarily in the mortuary block and cellar.

The new blocks, according to hospital superintendent, A.Y. Chari, could take a year to become functional.

Minor issues like parking lots, canteens, telephone connections, consulting rooms for doctors and offices for other staff and other complaints too wait streamlining. But those are trivial matters.

For the `new' Gandhi Hospital, it is now time to live up to its hallowed name.

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