A visit by UP minister Ashutosh Tandon to the SN Medical College (SNMC) on Saturday morning turned into a nightmare for many patients, particularly those in the emergency ward. Several of them, including those in critical condition, were hurriedly made to leave shift elsewhere to present that the hospital was not overcrowded.“We were in the emergency ward with my 10-month-old son, who is suffering from high fever and was on IV drip.The staff asked us to move out temporarily ,“ said the mother of a patient. The woman, with the child in her lap and the grandmother holding the IV , remained outside for nearly an hour until the minister left.

To present a “good image“ of the hospital, authorities started making arrangements for Tandon’s visit early in the day . Stretchers were cleaned and even covered with blankets. Equipment was given a shine. However, in order to reduce congestion in the emergency ward, patients were allegedly asked to shift to other wards. Some who could not be accommodated anywhere we re sent out in the sun in the 45oC heat. SNMC principal Saroj Singh, however, denied the patients were moved.

“I have no information at this moment about any inconvenience caused to patients during the inspection of the minister. No patient was asked to leave the emergency ward. I was on rounds since the morning and found no patient in trouble, nor did anyone approach me for help. I would have definitely taken suitable action otherwise. The minister made recommendations after the inspection and action will be taken on them,“ Singh said. Two doctors in the emergency ward told TOI that it had indeed happened. “The patients were told that it’s just a matter of two-three hours and that once mantriji goes back things would return to normal,“ one of them said.

A 30-year-old patient from Mainpuri was brought in a critical condition on oxygen support. However, with no stretcher available and the minister in the hospital, the patient was allegedly kept in the ambulance for more than an hour before finally being let in.

“Some of the patients had to be relocated to other wards to reduce congestion in the emergency ward at the time. The facilities are not enough for all the patients in the ward, but we had to show that things were running smoothly . The patients were brought back after the inspection,“ said an SNMC official.

At around 10.30am, Tandon arrived and inspected the hospital.He was not impressed, and pointed out several shortcomings in the facilities. At the outpatient department, he found there was no drinking water available for patients. He was informed by patients that the pharmacy was very poorly stocked.