LAHORE: For Lahore’s 10 million people, only three hospitals provide proper cardiovascular emergency facilities. Even the Mayo Hospital – one of the oldest and largest hospitals in Punjab – does not have a cardiac emergency ward.
The healthcare institution established before Partition in the heart of the city hosts 2,200 beds with four internal medicine and four general surgery departments.
While the hospital caters to thousands of patients every day not only from Lahore but also from all over the province, emergency help for cardiovascular patients is still missing.
All equipment and necessary medical staff are available at Mayo Hospital, but the government’s approval and funding are pending for establishing a 10-bed chest pain emergency ward, says Mayo Hospital’s cardiology professor Saqib Shafiq while talking to The Express Tribune.
Due to the lack of a cardio emergency ward, most of the heart patients at the hospital are left unattended. The ones suffering the most are patients from districts close to Lahore such as Baghbanpura, Islamnagar, Shahadrah and other low-income areas.
These people are forced to visit other hospitals located far away from their homes such as Jinnah, Gulab Divi Hospital and the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC), Prof Saqib lamented.
Due to the massive number of cardiac patients at PIC, the doctors can be seen attending to patients on stretchers, chairs and even on the floor. “Conditions are similar at all hospitals more or less,” he said, terming it a ‘disaster-like situation’.
“Although Mayo Hospital’s emergency ward is working efficiently, there is a need to establish a proper cardiac emergency ward so that patients are not left unattended,” Prof Saqib said.
While talking to The Express Tribune, Punjab Health Department spokesperson Akhlaq Ali Khan said the government was cognisant about the lack of facilities for cardiovascular emergencies in Lahore.
The government is also considering to improving the network of all cardiac facilities in Punjab in order to overcome the burden of teaching hospitals, he added.
A state-of-the-art 100-bed cardio trauma centre at PIC has been completed that will be inaugurated by Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif within two weeks. A similar ward, the spokesman said, will be opened soon.
Dr Salman Kazmi, the Young Doctors Association (YDA) Pakistan general secretary, said the government’s plan to establish a network of cardiac facilities was “a childish dream”.
“They will have to buy helicopters for the hospital networking system to really work, as it is impossible to transport patient through the frequent traffic jams,” he added.
Dr Salman lamented that all equipment, including cardio-monitors, echocardiograph machines and ventilators, were available and there was no reason for delaying the cardiac emergency ward at Mayo Hospital.
According to the World Health Organisation data published in May 2014, 111,367 or 9.87% of the total deaths in Pakistan are caused by coronary heart disease. The age adjusted death rate is 110.65 per 100,000 of the population that ranks Pakistan 63rd in the world.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2016.
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