A test drive conducted at 14 hospitals across the city reveals half of them don’t use disposable glasses, putting visitors and patients at risk of contracting infections

Kuldeep Tiwari and Mehul Jani
Posted On Saturday, March 10, 2012 at 01:17:21 AM
If you plan to visit a patient admitted to a city hospital ensure you do not drink water in the steel glasses it provides. Chances are you might contract bacterial infection that could even lead to serious illness.

Mirror Test Drive conducted in 14 hospitals -- government and private -- across the city reveals that 50 per cent of them do not use disposable glasses, thus putting visitors at the risk of catching bacterial infections and other illnesses. At some hospitals our reporters visited, even the water room was dirty.
A person using a glass used by patients/visitors with mouth ulcers or gum inflammation can suffer from bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea, say doctors. He/she may also be at a risk of contracting Hepatitis B and C.

Mirror found that half of the hospitals visited prefer to use steel glasses instead of disposable glasses. Although it is not mandatory for hospitals to keep disposable glasses, using them is the safest option as steel glasses increase chances of cross-infections.

Gastroenterology and hepatology consultant Shravan Bohra said, “Bacteria from the patient gets transferred through the glass to another person using it if the glass is not sterile. This can lead to vomiting and anxiety as well as put a person at risk of contracting infections like Hepatitis B and C. Therefore disposable glasses is the best option.”

HOC, Vedanta Building
What we saw: The drinking water areas were clean, but visitors had the option of using only steel glasses. We saw some patients and their visitors using their own water bottles. In hematology oncology clinic where people with acute and chronic blood diseases are treated, one expects stricter hygiene measures in place.

Hospital’s take: Vikram Dodia, the hospital’s manager admitted, “The clinic does not use disposable glasses.” On being asked the reason, he stammered and replied that he would have to call up the directors to find out.
Nidhi Hospital, Multispecialty

What we saw: 
The drinking water area on all the floors was clean. However, on the first floor which has operation theatres, steel glasses are used. On the second floor authorities had placed a jug in the water room with disposable glasses stacked on it. One of the patients claimed that those glasses were kept five minutes before they had reached the second floor.

Hospital’s take: “We carry out a daily Total Dissolved Solvents (TDS) check as well as weekly laboratory tests to make sure the water is germ free. We don’t think people can contract infections by using steel glasses,” said Dr Sunil Popat, director.

Child Care
Vijay crossroads
What we saw: One could find only steel glasses in the drinking water area. Being a hospital specially for children, it should have stocked disposable glasses so that the infection is not transferred to mothers or other children.

Hospital’s take: “We use disposable glasses only for coffee and tea. However, if people make a request for the same, we readily provide them,” Dr Mahendra P Shah. The authorities also said that since most of their patients are less than a year old and are breastfed, parents carry the water bottle from home.

Civil Hospital

What we saw:
 The water room is unhygienic. We saw a dirty steel glass tied to a chain near the water cooler. One could see salt lining along the rim of the glass.

Hospital’s take: “We fixed the glass so that no one is able to steal it. Plastic disposable glasses are not environment friendly,” Dr M M Prabhakar, superintendent, Civil Hospital.

VS Hospital 
Ellis Bridge

What we saw: The water room, adjacent to the medical store inside the hospital, was in a miserable condition. Even the body of the water cooler is rusted. Moreover there were no glasses here -- neither steel nor plastic ones.

Hospital’s take: “I think someone would have stolen the steel glass. We will first need to educate visitors before putting disposable glasses in place. We will see what best we can do for the visitors and patients,” Dr Manish Trivedi, deputy director.

Institute of Kidney Disease and Research Centre (IKRDC)
What we saw: There were no glasses available. People cupped their hands to drink water from the taps or drink water from their own bottles. Here, it is written that the RO plant purifies the water.

Hospital’s take: “We don’t provide glasses. We insist that people carry their own bottles or glasses. Our visitors do not complain,” said Madhav Ramanuj of the HR department.
Infectious Diseases Hospital

What we saw:
 The water room was dirty and so was the water cooler. There were no glasses available, neither steel ones nor disposable ones at the hospital that treats infectious diseases.

Hospital’s take: They told Mirror that they did not keep disposable glasses whilst admitting that these should be provided to patients and visitors. “We provide properly washed and cleaned steel glasses to the visitors. We will also be developing a water treatment plant in the near future to offer better services to the patients,” said Dr Vijay Jhala.

Apollo Hospitals
Bhat, Gandhinagar

What we saw:
 The hospital’s drinking water area was clean. They did provide disposable glasses to visitors and patients.

Hospital’s take: “We have an RO plant and we regularly check the TDS level to ensure the water given to patients is hygienic. We also ensure we never run out of disposable glasses,” said Hitakshi Buch, public relations officer.

Sterling Hospital

What we saw:
 They hospital has water jugs and disposable glasses in visitors area on ground floor. In the canteen area, they have different shelf for used and unused glasses.

Hospital’s take: “We have an infection control committee and we also get water tested regularly in the inhouse laboratory. The used glasses are washed and steamed before being used again,” said Ritesh Brahmbhatt, head, support services.

SAL Hospital

What we saw:
 They served water to the reporters in disposable glasses. They also had disposable glasses stacked near the water jug in the OPD floor. Even the patients get water in disposable glasses covered with foil.

Hospital’s take: “We have been using disposable glasses for very long as we know that hospital is one place where changes of infection are higher. Hence, we do not wish to take chances with anyone’s health,” said Uma Bakshi, public relations officer.

Jivraj Mehta Hospital
Jivraj Park

What we saw:
 The drinking water area was clean and they had a rack for disposable glasses. Even in the PRO office, water was served in disposable glasses covered with a foil. Moreover, the canteen staff wear gloves and plastic shower caps to ensure hygiene as canteen food is provided to patients, visitors as well as staff.

Hospital’s take: “Hygiene is our top priority. Our staff keeps checking the stock of disposable glasses at regular intervals so that these are available to everyone round the clock,” said Minesh Shah, public relations officer.

HCG Hospitals

What we saw:
 The hospital provides paper glasses. The drinking water area was clean.

Hospital’s take: “We use both paper and plastic disposable glasses on all the floors. We are also planning to introduce a better system for hygiene of visitors and patients. This will help in keeping the environment clean,” Dr Bharat Gadhvi, CEO and Medical Director.

Shalby Hospital
SG Highway

What we saw:
 The drinking water area was clean and had disposable glasses. The authorities also showed us their water testing plant.

Hospital’s take: “Our priority has always been hygiene. We have good number of foreign patients too. To ensure transparency, we also take relatives of the patients around to show them our facilities so that they can see the standards of hygiene we maintain,” Dr Neeraj Lal, senior VP, Quality.

Amardeep Hospital
Ellis Bridge

What we saw:
 They have a water purifier system and also provide disposable glasses. Even the water room was clean.

Hospital’s take: "Kids have a weaker immunity system as compared to adults and in most cases the root cause for infection is contaminated water. Hence, we take extra care of our younger patients,” Dr Aniruddh Shah.
UN Mehta Hospital

Mirror reporters also visited the UN Mehta Hospital. However, they were not allowed to check the drinking water room or click photographs.