LAHORE: The neuroangiography section (neuroradiology department) of the Lahore General Hospital has been shut down for 10 days after its five medics including head of the department and four paramedics tested positive for Covid-19.

The neuro CT Scan and MRI sections have also been declared vulnerable as a majority of the employees of the said facilities are at great risk of contracting the virus.

Sixty-nine doctors, nurses and paramedics of the institute have been tested positive for the virus.

The neuroradiology department is also called the Department of Diagnostic and International Neuro Radiology Regional Centre for Hemangioma and Vascular Malformation Fist Acute of the PINS. The critical facility is the second after the orthopedic unit of the Lahore General Hospital that was closed down after most of its doctors and paramedics tested positive for the coronavirus a few weeks back.

Neuroradiology department Registrar Haseeb Manzoor has apprised the health authorities of the disturbing situation. The letter created confusion when it at the same time was addressed to the heads of the Punjab Institute of Neuro Sciences (PINS) and the Lahore General Hospital while taking up matter of closure of the facility.

These two institutions were given an independent status by the Punjab government after bifurcation last year.

PINS Executive Director Prof Khalid Mehmood disowned the above mentioned unit and its staff members, including doctors, saying it had nothing to do with his institution.

“The neuroradiology department was functioning on the LGH premises while its consultant radiologist Prof Umar Rasheed and head Prof Dr Saima both are drawing pay from the LGH,” Prof Khalid said.

He said the only contribution of these two senior medics for PINS was that they had been preparing reports of CT Scans.

Prof Khalid also questioned registrar Dr Haseeb Manzoor’s role in writing a letter to him and other authorities saying this sole function was of head of the neuroradiology department.

LGH Chief Executive Prof Alfreed Zafar said that after bifurcation some more issues are yet to be settled between the two institutions.

“The neuroradiology department and its some senior officials/doctors are also among them”, he said, adding that Prof Saima and Dr Umair Rasheed were discharging duties for both institutions.

He said 16 out of 69 doctors and other employees of the LGH and PINS had recovered from the virus.

“It is stated with grave concern that the department of neuroangiography and first acute stroke centre has been closed down for a period of 10 days as unfortunately the head of the department along with five doctors and four paramedics have been tested positive for the Covid-19 while remaining have been quarantined,” reads the letter of the registrar.

He further stated the department had been shut down to prevent further spread of the virus among health professionals and the patients as well.

“Besides this, the neuro CT Scan and neuro MRI are also at grave risk,” he said while suggesting to follow standard operating procedures.

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2020