Unscheduled power outages, water shortages and a dysfunctional cooling system at the District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ) in Rawalpindi are causing headaches for patients and their attendees.
Patients awaiting surgeries and heart patients requiring constant monitoring were shifted to other hospitals as necessary machines including those used for ECG and sonography tests, ultrasounds, CT scans and X-rays could not be operated due to power suspensions.
“Due to the dysfunctional cooling system, most patients are referred to either Benazir Bhutto Hospital or Holy Family Hospital or are discharged early,” said a DHQ official requesting anonymity.
“Four generators were installed to restore emergency services but they are not enough,” he said, adding that one of them had been out of order for some time.
The official said air-conditioners could not run due to low voltages. “Throughout the day and at night, the patients and their attendees sit in the hospital’s lawns to escape the suffocation and heat in the wards,” he said.
Hundreds of lab and X-ray results are pending due to frequent power outages, as scuffles between staff and patients have become a routine affair, according to X-ray technician Muhammad Azam.
Some patients’ results are long overdue. “I submitted my blood and urine samples on May 31, but still haven’t received any word about the results,” said Ruqia, a patient and resident of Sanjani.
Patients also complained of being forced to buy bottled water due to water shortages. “What little power supply we receive is not enough to operate the tube-well,” said the official.
Meanwhile, DHQ Medical Superintendent Dr Suhail Ejaz said that while adequate electricity has been provided to operation theatres and other emergency wards, unscheduled power disruptions have delayed tests and were affecting treatment of patients.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2013.
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