LAHORE: Peculiar policies at Children’s Hospital Lahore have made it difficult for parents and patients to enter the premises even in an emergency situation.
Nighat, the mother of an infant, said that the agonising ordeal of parents and patients starts at the hospital’s main gate. Rude security officials order you to park your vehicles and make the journey to the emergency block, located at a significant distance, on foot.
“They tell you that there is a shuttle service to shuffle people to and from the emergency block. When you finally park your car and come to avail said service, they tell you that there is no driver available,” she says.
At this point you have two choices; either wait for the driver to get in here in the boiling heat or just walk the entire distance in the boiling heat, she states.
For Muhammad Asif, the most perturbing part of this entire situation is the lack of basic facilities at what is supposed to be the biggest children’s hospital in the province.
“I cannot fathom the reason as to why we are not allowed to pull up to the hospital to just drop off a patient. The hospital’s administration has set aside an ambulance near the main gate to transport patients, which is of absolutely no use as there is never any driver available,” he laments.
The icing on top of the cake is that there is no proper designated parking area outside the hospital. City traffic police have declared the service lane outside of Children’s Hospital as a no parking zone.
“If due to an emergency you park your car outside the hospital, traffic police will impound your vehicle, parking it on the pavement. Further, it will only be returned to you after you pay Rs200 in fines,” he maintains.
It seems as though the hospital administration and the traffic police are in collusion; they fleece citizens by enforcing these rules, he theorises.
Another citizen, Anwar Baseer, adds that once he, his wife and his sick child had to wait around for half an hour after the police’s lifter malfunctioned. “It was only after several pedestrians intervened that the lifter started functioning and my vehicle was removed from the pavement,” he recounts.
The traffic police should find some other method to enforce parking rules near hospitals, otherwise such tactics could prove fatal for an emergency patient, he asserts.
Another bizarre policy being enforced at the Children’s Hospital is one which bars parents from carrying diaper bags. The hospital administration does not permit parents to carry extra clothes, diapers and other essentials inside a diaper bag.
“You can carry the things you require in plastic shoppers, but you are not allowed to carry them in a diaper bag,” says Maria Khan, the mother of a young infant.
I’ve had to change my son’s diaper six times since the morning because he is suffering from diarrhoea, she reveals. Khan added that carrying all of her child’s things inside plastic bags was extremely inconvenient.
“Also, if you are seen carrying a diaper bag by security officials, they start misbehaving with you without taking your gender into consideration,” she adds.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, the deputy medical superintendent confirms that parents are not allowed to carry diaper bags inside hospital premises. They can carry clothes, diapers and other essentials in plastic bags as per the hospital’s policy.
“Nearly, 1,700 patients visit Children’s Hospital daily. It is not feasible for us to allow all of them to carry diaper bags, which is why we ask parents to carry their essentials inside of plastic shoppers,” he reasons.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2018.