Mayo Hospital, Convalescent Home disagree over ownership

Mayo Hospital administration plans to demolish a 350-year-old structure that houses a convalescent home.

Abdul Manan August 31, 2010

LAHORE: Mayo Hospital administration plans to demolish a 350-year-old structure that houses a convalescent home to make room for the construction of a medical tower. The administration of the convalescent home however is insistent that the building belongs to the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) and the hospital cannot demolish it.

Dr Zahid Pervaiz, the Mayo Hospital medical superintendent, told The Express Tribune that Shams Shahabuddin Convalescent Home or Sehatgah Hospital was established in 1936 on the site of a 350-year-old Chubara Chajju Bhagat, a single room structure. He said that the building fell inside the Mayo Hospital compound and would be demolished to make room for the construction of the medical tower in five years’ time. “We have already started razing the buildings around the Sehatgah,” he added.

Sehatgah administration said that they were served an eviction notice by the Mayo Hospital administration a few months ago. They added that they had written back that the building was ETPB property and that the hospital could not take such an action.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Amir Hashmi, a public relations officer at the ETPB, confirmed that the Chubara Chajju Bhagat belonged to the ETPB.

“The Convalescent Home is working under the Lahore Hospital Welfare Society (LHWS) since 1942,” Nusrat Jalal, the LHWS president, said. She said that the LHWS was formed by a group of Hindu and Muslim women to facilitate the patients at Mayo Hospital. She said that though the Hindu women left the city after independence the remaining group continued to support the deserving patients and look after their healthcare needs. It was later named after Begum Justice Shams Shahabuddin, who took charge of the facility after partition, Jalal added.

The Convalescent Home started off in 1936 as a 21-bed facility, she said, but it now has 150 beds. She said that to date more than 70,000 patients have received free-of-charge treatment at the facility.

She said that most poor who came to the Mayo Hospital for treatment were referred to the Convalescent Home where they receive treatment, medicine, nursing care, and lodging.

Aayesha Wasim, an administrator at the Home, said that they had their own staff of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, housekeepers, ayahs, and cleaners. “The annual expenditure of the place amounts to Rs12.5 million,” she said, “it is covered through donations and fund raising.”

“It has been a home away from home for hundreds of people who come to Lahore from distant villages and towns of the province,” she said. She said that Sehatgah had a total of nine wards –six for females, two for males and a common ward. She said that the patients undergoing prolonged medical procedures such as chemotherapy, physiotherapy and radiotherapy, were accommodated at the facility.

She said that besides providing patients with a nutritional diet, the Home took care of their medical needs including diagnostic scans such as x-rays and ultra sound. She said that special food was cooked at the Home for patients requiring a semi-solid diet. Fresh fruits, juices and milk were supplied to the patients on a daily basis, she added.

She said that up to 2000 the Convalescent Home cared solely for women and children. In 2000, it started serving male patients as well.

Cancer patients get radiotherapy at the Mayo Hospital Cancer Department but all drugs are administered at the Home, she said.

She said that the Home provided medical treatment for diseases including meningitis, CVS disorders, renal failure, bone disorders and chest pleurisy. She added that the patients requiring cardiac surgery were given pre and post-operative care while polio patients were provided physiotherapy at the facility. Muhammad Ishaq Qazi, the LHWS vice president, said that the LHWS has been told by the ETPB that building of the Home was located on its property and that it could carry on operations.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2010.


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