RAWALPINDI, Sept 29: Despite the recent opening of Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology (RIC), Rawalpindi has the distinction for being without any angiogram machine in any of the three government run hospitals, including the recently opened RIC.
Patients coming to hospitals are being referred to private hospitals, Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) and Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims).
The current situation did not match with the tall claims of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who claimed that free of cost healthy facilities in government run hospitals are being provided to the people.
Angiography which is also called arteriography is a medical imaging technique. The cardiac consultant will be able to see the blockage of blood vessels and condition of the heart. He will install a stent to open the blockage or refer it to a surgeon for heart surgery or bypass during the procedure, if needed.
It may be mentioned here that an angiogram machine is worth Rs600 million and was installed in Holy Family Hospital (HFH) in 2003 but the machine has been non-operational since that time.
“The machinery was installed at HFH but there is no cardiac specialist or surgeon or interventional radiologist available in the hospital to handle the machine,” said an official of the hospital.
He said that it was strange that the machinery was installed in HFH and the cardiac consultant and professor was working at Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH).
“The government transferred the consultants and surgeon to HFH or installed the machine at BBH,” he said.
At RIC, the machines will be installed by the end of December, this year. Despite completing the construction work, the provincial government inaugurated the Outdoor patients department (OPD) and after getting verbal information, they are being referred to private hospitals as the hospital has no equipment to do the tests.
The private clinics and hospitals are charging Rs22,000 to Rs25,000 per test for the angiography and if the physician places a stent in the heart supply vessel, the bill shoots up from Rs100,000 to Rs200,000.
Muhammad Suleman, son of a cardiac patient at HFH, said that his father was advised to get the angiography tests but he had no money.
“I applied for a loan from my office for the treatment of my father,” he said.
Another patient at the hospital, Naseer Javed, said that he came to the hospital for the treatment but the doctors referred him to go to a private hospital, AFIC or Pims for the treatment as the government run hospitals have no such facility.
“We have some doctors working in the hospital under the supervision of Professor Dr Fayyaz Ahmed but there is no machinery available in the hospital,” said Dr Asif Qadir Mir, BBH Medical Superintendent, while talking to Dawn.
He said that there was a cardiac way to deal with the patients at the emergency department but they were being referred to AFIC and Pims for the treatment.
He said that the emergency department provided first aid treatment.
“For RIC, the machinery arrived in Karachi and it is being transported to Rawalpindi for installation. The angiography machine and other equipment will arrive in the city on the first week of October and will be installed in the hospital, second or third week of next month,” said Dr Shaoib Khan, RIC Medical Superintendent, while talking to Dawn.
He said that the process of shipment, transport and installment of the machinery was being monitored by the Punjab Health Department team to ensure that the quality of the equipment is fine.
When contacted, Rawalpindi Medical College (RMC) Principal and Chief Executive of allied hospitals Dr Mussadiq Khan admitted that there were no such equipments in the three government run hospitals for the cardiac patients.
“The angiogram machine installed at the HFH is non-functional as there is no interventional radiologist available. Earlier, the cardiac consultant was asked to handle it but he had some reservations about the machine. The hospitals have no post to appoint the radiologist,” he explained.