With services at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences Delhi crippled for the 13th consecutive day following a server hack, patients visiting the new RAK OPD have been facing a hard time — several reported that their treatment has been stuck in limbo after the administration couldn’t trace their lab reports. The Indian Express speaks to four such patients.
Rameshwar Jadhav (32): Over the last four days, Jadhav from Bihar’s Gaya and his wife Reeta Devi have made the pavement outside AIIMS their temporary home. While Jadhav heads in to try and meet doctors for treatment, Reeta stands guard over their belongings.
“I have been facing chronic pain in my stomach and burning in my urinary tract for some months. The local doctors referred me to AIIMS after I told them that I could not bear the expenses. With a letter from an MP to the institute’s administration, I got to see a doctor in the OPD on October 10,” Jadhav said.
He said the doctor prescribed several tests including a fibroscan and ultrasound. “I got the tests done and returned to Bihar, hoping to come back on the date assigned for treatment — December 1. But the help desk told me that the reports are untraceable and I will have to come again,” added Jadhav, a daily wage labourer.
“I earn Rs 300 per day… our two children are staying with neighbours for now. The pain is unbearable and it stings when I urinate. If I had received reports, I would have met the doctor, but now I will go back because I cannot afford private tests. With these frequent visits to Delhi, how can I make a living for my children,” he added.
Parveena Khatun (60): Khatun and her 20-year-old son Raja have been running from pillar to post to get her MRCP (magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography) test and blood test reports. Suffering from a hip bone fracture and jaundice, she was being treated at Ranchi institute of medical sciences but the hospital did not have a specific test after which she was referred to AIIMS Delhi in October.
“My mother got the blood tests done on November 16 and was asked to come on November 30 to consult a doctor, but we have not gotten the reports yet and the treatment has gone awry,” said Raja, an autorickshaw driver.
“The doctors recommended that I admit her to the emergency ward but the staff there said they do not have a bed available, so we are waiting outside the hospital,” he added.
Raja said that he had got the appointment for October 20 after standing in a queue from 2 pm till 7 am. “I got a date and the tests were also done without spending much money but now the help desk told us the lab reports are missing,” he said.
Raja added, “I will try to get the tests done again here but I’m not sure what date we will be allotted. Private labs will charge huge sums of money which we don’t have.”
Gaurav Kumar Jha (20): Gaurav has been suffering from stomach pain for a long time. When he consulted private doctors, he was referred to AIIMS. “The pain became severe in the last two months. The cost of treatment at private facilities has left me with no option but to come to AIIMS. After waiting in line for hours, I somehow got an appointment and the doctors prescribed several tests including endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), MRI and CT scans, and several other blood tests,” said Gaurav.
Meanwhile, he has taken up a job in Noida sector 18 to earn money for his treatment.
Gaurav got the MRI and CT scan tests done again from a private lab but is waiting for his blood tests at AIIMS that have gone missing. “The help desk told me to wait for some more time. For the ERCP, I have been asked to come on December 20. If the blood test reports come through, I will get it done,” he added.
“My family is in Bihar and I am the sole breadwinner. I had come to Delhi in the hope of making a living but with my health issues, all my earnings are spent on tests and medicines,” he added.
Sandeep Kumar (47): A patient with pancreatic cancer from Haryana, Kumar was referred by the Jhajjar Extension campus to AIIMS Delhi for an endoscopic ultrasound-guided biopsy. To his dismay, his reports have now gone missing. A school bus driver, he said his wife and two daughters are dependent on him. Though he praised the institute for the free treatment, he added that getting a date is challenging as he has to stand in queues for hours. “The doctors in Jhajjar will start further treatment only after I get these reports from Delhi. With the server down, I will have to get all the tests done again, but I am not sure how soon I will get the reports. I cannot stand in a queue for hours leaving my work aside, but neither do I have enough money to get the tests done again from a private lab,” he said.