Barely helpful: Twin cities’ hospitals face shortage of lifesaving equipment

Three Pindi hospitals get 20 ventilators; Pims, Polyclinic still face shortage


Sehrish Wasif December 24, 2014

ISLAMABAD: The majority of the public hospitals in the twin cities are facing shortage of essential medical equipment given the increasing patient load.

The Punjab government on Monday handed over 20 ventilators as well as a dialysis and a CT scanner worth Rs250 million to the allied hospitals of Rawalpindi to overcome shortage of the equipment.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi handed over the equipment to the Rawalpindi Medical College and Allied Hospitals Principal Dr Muhammad Umar and Holy Family Hospital (HFH) Medical Superintendent (MS) Dr Muhammad Arshad.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Dr Arshad said these ventilators were direly needed. “For critical patients, ventilator is the only option and hope to keep them alive,” he said.

Previously the HFH had 22 ventilators which were insufficient to meet the daily requirement.

Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) had six ventilators and District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital had hardly two or three.

The medical superintendent said that all the public hospitals usually coordinate with each other when they face shortage of ventilators.

“We try to shift the patient to any of the other public hospitals, whenever there is a shortage, but transporting such a patient obviously involves a high risk,” he said.

Majority of patients who visit public hospitals cannot afford treatment at private hospitals.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) spokesperson Dr Ayesha Isani said that the hospital had 60 ventilators at present which are not enough to cope with the ever increasing number of patients.

“Everyday around two to three patients are turned back due to non-availability of ventilators,” she said.

“Pims is facing shortage of space to install more ventilators and for that it needs to expand its intensive care unit (ICU),” she said.

A senior doctor at the emergency ward of the hospital said that at least once or twice in a week serious patients were being refused [medical treatment] because of shortage of ventilators adding majority of them die before reaching other hospitals.

Polyclinic spokesperson Dr Sharif Astori told The Express Tribune that the hospital had 10 to 12 ventilators but needed more.

“To overcome the shortage of the ventilators we usually use manual methods of giving artificial respiration to the patients which are very painful and involve risks,” he said.

Dr Tanveer Malik, assistant executive director of the emergency department of the hospital said that at least 10 ventilators were needed in the emergency department.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 24th, 2014.

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