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MP finally gets its first hospital for respiratory illnesses after 38 years of waiting

The Hawk
December3/ 2022

Bhopal (The Hawk): According to a senior physician affiliated with the institute, the Regional Institute for Respiratory Diseases, which opened a few months ago in Bhopal's Idgah Hills neighbourhood, sees between 150 and 200 patients each day, of whom roughly three to five percent are follow-up patients who were impacted by the toxic gas leak back in 1984.

However, it is not the only hospital that cares for victims of the MIC gas leak. At least five state and federally financed hospitals in Bhopal are devoted to treating individuals who have been harmed by the gas release.

A separate respiratory department was built on the grounds of the TB Hospital after the Regional Institute for Respiratory Diseases' foundation stone was placed in May by the then-President Ram Nath Kovind. The much-needed department has certainly increased resources for snoring, lung cancer screening, and respiratory disease treatment.

The department will continue to operate out of the current facility till a new four-story building is built, for which approximately Rs 56 crore has been approved by the Centre. The availability of amenities such a ventilator, X-ray, pathology, radiology, ultrasound, and medicine under one roof is anticipated to occur in two years.

The world's greatest chemical disaster, the Bhopal Gas Tragedy of 1984, left thousands of survivors trying to return to regular lives. The newly constructed respiratory department, which is first in Madhya Pradesh and fourth in the nation, was launched 38 years later.

More significantly, the Gandhi Medical College's first MD in Respiratory class (with only two seats) finished its programme in May of this year. The Post Graduate (PG) degree designed exclusively for respiratory ailments was started about five years ago.

IANS tried to establish what symptoms are still present among the patients impacted by the hazardous MIC gas leak by speaking with Dr. Harish Pathak, one of the two MDs in respiratory who is now working in the respiratory department in Bhopal.

Pathak also discussed the importance of the respiratory department, particularly in Bhopal, and how it can benefit patients with various lung disorders.

"A dedicated respiratory department has been needed for many years, especially since 41% of the country's population smokes and air pollution is rising daily," he added. However, during the Covid-19 pandemic, it became urgently necessary.

"See, it should be obvious that the condition is incurable if one discusses the people harmed by the MIC gas leak. However, it depends on how affected a person is or how much hazardous gas they have ingested at the moment. Unfortunately, the Bhopal Gas Tragedy was not the topic of research, hence there is no specific antidote for MIC gas. You cannot develop a precise treatment unless a thorough investigation of the problem has been conducted. Therefore, in my opinion, the Bhopal Gas Tragedy should be considered in medical research in order to aid the medical community in preparing for future disasters of this nature "Pathak declared.

He added that victims of the toxic gas leak incident frequently complained of lung and respiratory problems as well as other related ailments. "When the city's air quality declines in the winter, issues like inflammation and hypertension get worse. The fact that all gas leak victims are follow-up patients and that no new patients are being admitted is a plus."

The first physician to treat victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy, Dr. H.H. Trivedi, asserted that there was no known cure for MIC gas at the time and that only simple medications were administered to the populace. "I was the head of Gandhi Medical College in 1984, the year of the Bhopal gas tragedy, and we treated many patients assiduously. The entire medical staff worked nonstop for more than a week, but I won't hesitate to declare that because we were ignorant of the effects of MIC gas, we had no idea what medications should be administered to these patients "He remembers.

(Inputs from Agencies)