When the premier witnesses a problem it usually gets fixed, but unusually so, even after Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani had to wait for several hours for a chest and throat X-ray due to a malfunctioning X-ray machine at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) last month, the issue remains unresolved.
The issue was taken up following the PM’s visit on September 10, with the administration constituting a committee to inquire into the issue, while explanations were sought from radiology department officials. Moreover, all department heads were instructed to report any out-of-order machinery to the administration.
Patients, especially those of limited means, termed these initiatives a blessing as they now would not have to pay Rs300 to get X-rays done at private labs and instead pay Rs70 here at Pims.
However, hospital sources said that the initiatives announced by the administration were “only verbal directives” as to date, no practical steps have been taken to ensure proper functioning of X-ray machines at the hospital. Patients are still being made to wait for hours or are sent home due to machines malfunctioning.
Sources said that the radiology department at Pims Children’s Hospital is also in bad shape. A majority of the machines are out of order, while the storeroom where department records were kept has been converted into the office of a senior department official. The records are lying “scattered about” in empty hospital floors, sources added.
When contacted, Pims Executive Director Professor Mehmood Jamal denied that the X-ray machines at the hospital were out-of-order. He said that machines found malfunctioning have been fixed, while new machines have also been purchased and will arrive soon.
The radiology department, which has to handle over 300 patients every day, is equipped with two “partially functional” X-ray machines and a digital radiography machine. More so, the department lacks computer radiography and fluoroscopy machines.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 4th, 2011.
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