KING EDWARD MEMORIAL HOSPITAL

Seth Gordhandas Sunderdas Medical College

Acharya Donde Marg, Parel,
Mumbai 400 012. India.
Tel.: 91-22-2410 7000 Fax: 91-22-2414 3435

Development :

The Seth G.S. Medical College, the twelfth medical college in the country, opened its doors on I June 1925 to 46 students, six of them women. The formal opening followed the next year and it was affiliated to the University of Bombay. The hospital, with 125 beds, started admitting patients on 15 January 1926.

Both the medical College and the hospital quickly gained a reputation and patients were attracted in large numbers. The demand for more beds led to a progressive expansion of the hospital. Table I shows the growth of hospital services.

Bed Number of Number of Annual
Year Strength In Patients Out Patients Expenditure
1926 125 274 3,334
(15.1.1926 – 31.3.1926)
1926-7 267 4,378 79,823 341,000
1936-7 370 12,127 265,910 528,355
1946-7 510 17,096 467,045 1,387,500
1956-7 550 23,874 684,459 2,910,960
1966-7 1,113 53,335 686,064 7,579,125
1976-7 1,450 62,806 932,028 31,293,156
1986-7 1.615 57,877 1.272,251 97,556,118

As most patients are poor, the Municipal Corporation tried to provide hospital services free of charge. But increases in costs over the past decades have made it necessary to recover some of the expenses from those who could afford to pay.

There has also been an increase in the number of students joining the medical college (Table II). The establishment of the school of nursing in 1927, the first school of occupational therapy in India (by Mrs Kamala V. Nimbkar in 1950) and that of physiotherapy in 1953 made it possible for students to get training in these paramedica)disciplines. The E.C.I. Institute of electro-physiology was added to the school of physiotherapy in 1974.

‘HONORARIES AND FULL TIMERS’ – Initially the institutions adopted the dual system of teachers in keeping with the British pattern.

The National Medical Journal Of India Vol 1 Jan/Feb
Undergraduate Students
Year Fresh Admissions Male Female Total Postgraduate Students Total Expenditure
1925-6 46 40 6 46 287,270
1926-7 52 100 5 105 179,840
1936-7 80 377 42 419 256,362
1946-7 86 394 126 520 70 280,322
1956-7 339 126 169 580,256
1966-7 160 428 409 837 277 1,941,217
1976-7 160 694 348 1042 561 5,990,378
1986-7 200 542 686 1228 692 29,940,120

Anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, preventive and social medicine were taught by full-time teachers. Whereas medicine, surgery, obstetrics, gynaecology and other clinical subjects were taught by individuals who worked part-time for the institutions on an honorarium (and were, hence, termed ‘honoraries’). The ‘honoraries’, being outstanding clinicians, earned their living from their private practice. They spent most of their working hours in the college and hospital. The “honorary” system worked very well at that time as the number of students and patients were small.

Dr Jivraj Mehta sought to stimulate research as soon as the institutions started working smoothly. Besides obtaining funds for research from external agencies, Dr Mehta approached the ‘honoraries’ who had lucrative practices. He received generous contributions from Drs P.C. Bharucha, M.D.D.Gilder, N. A.Purandare and Rustom Cooper. (Dr.Mehta’s account of the attitude of IMS officers towards applications for grants from Indian doctors is revealing. It was necessary to approach Sir Walter Fletcher, adviser to the Government of India on medical research, to improve the situation. Incidentally, it was Dr Jivraj Mehta who insisted that the All India Institute of Medical Sciences should be located in New Delhi instead of DehraDun as advised by the Fletcher Committee.)

As the number of patients and students progressively increased it became difficult for honoraries’ to devote sufficient time to their wards, teaching and research. The situation was worsened by competition in private practice. Barring a few exceptions, the”honoraries” found themselves unable to do justice to their three responsibilities.

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