The newly renovated Liver Transplant Centre (LTC) at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) has made treatment riskier for the patients. The centre violates the guidelines set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for setting up such a facility, The Express Tribune has learnt.
The LTC which has been established at a cost of Rs200 million, was supposed to become functional by June this year, as directed by the Prime Minister. A confined space, which previously housed old operation theatres (OTs), has been renovated for the centre. Past the first week of July, the centre is still not functional as staff recruitment is in doldrums and surgical and medical equipment has yet to arrive at the centre. Floor tiles have been used in the three-bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU) as well as the OT in the centre. According to doctors who wished to remain anonymous, this is a violation of the WHO guidelines. Tiles should be avoided because germs easily penetrate the gaps between them. It is difficult to maintain hygiene and can also pose a health risk for the patient in highly sensitive areas. The length, width, space and the height of the centre’s roof and the OT’s design is also in violation of international standards. The OT is also at a great distance from the ICU.
The main entrance of the LTC is cramped. Rusted steel cupboards occupy most of the space. It previously had a cafeteria for doctors. There are hardly any signs of the huge amount supposedly spent on the renovated portion. The furniture is in poor state as is the newly constructed floor.
Talking to The Express Tribune senior doctors said that the newly established LTC has also occupied some area of their changing room.” The changing room has become too congested as in addition to 50 surgeons who use it daily it will also be made available to LTC surgeons. They were of the view that the LTC should have been allocated more space since it will not be able to accommodate patients from all over the country. Also, a separate ward for liver transplant patients has not been set up in the hospital, even though they require intensive care after the surgery. Sources informed The Express Tribune that a general surgeon has been selected for the LTC whereas a specialist is required.
Sources said that liver transplant is a major surgery and it is very sensitive. “The current team of doctors and staff is unable to deal with cases such as liver tear, and during the last week, three to four patients died because of inadequate care.” Furthermore, sources said that no one knows where the Rs200 million has been utilised neither does anyone question the expenditure or the delay in procuring equipment and staff. Sources added that people monitoring the project have told the Prime Minister that he will not be able to inaugurate the centre due to a security threat which is not the case.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 8th, 2011.