— Dawn
— Dawn

GUJRAT: The dialysis unit of Wazirabad Tehsil Headquarters (THQ) Hospital has been lying dysfunctional for a couple of weeks since the condition of around a dozen patients deteriorated during the procedure.

These patients had been immediately shifted to the Gujranwala DHQ Hospital, and the dialysis unit shut by the orders of the Gujranwala deputy commissioner (DC) who had also ordered an inquiry into the incident.

The delay in resumption of operations of the dialysis unit is a cause of concern for the kidney patients of Wazirabad city and its surrounding rural areas, including Gakhar Mandi town, who relied on the public sector for their dialysis and did not have enough resources to go to private facilities. The hospital administration has told the visiting patients that until the completion of the inquiry, the dialysis unit could not be made functional.

At least a dozen dialysis machines were installed at Wazirabad THQ Hospital and reportedly the expenses were being borne by a local non-governmental organisation (NGO).

Patients’ condition worsened two weeks ago

Gujranwala Health Chief Executive Officer Dr Farjad Butt told Dawn that the dialysis unit had been shut down at the end of January when the condition of the patients admitted at the time started to deteriorate and they were referred to Gujranwala DHQ Hospital.

The Gujranwala DC had ordered an inquiry to ascertain the cause of the deteriorating condition of the 12 patients and the inquiry committee had collected samples of the medicine administered to the affected patients as well as water samples of the reverse osmosis plant that was an essential part of dialysis.

Dr Butt said the samples had been dispatched to the Drug Testing Laboratory and Institute of Public Health Lahore and the results were awaited. The inquiry report would then be submitted to the DC for further action and to determine when to reopen the dialysis unit.

On the other hand, Gujranwala DC Sohail Ashraf told Dawn over the phone that he had directed Dr Butt and the inquiry committee to complete the inquiry within the next three days so that the dialysis unit could be made operational at the earliest. He said that without determining the causes of the incident, resuming the operations on the dialysis unit could risk the lives of already vulnerable kidney patients.

Published in Dawn, February 20th, 2020