“This is my first pregnancy and it has progressed to 13 weeks. I am so worried because doctors are not doing an ultrasound examination. I went to Ruby Hall Clinic, Jehangir and other hospitals. They are refusing an ultrasound. How do I know if my baby is ok? I am really worried,” says 28- year-old Seema Shah (who requested anonymity).
“My father met with a road accident near Balewadi on Monday afternoon. It was not an emergency, but he was suffering from severe back pain and an X-Ray was required to rule out any fracture. But all the radiologists’ clinics were shut. I took my father to various facilities and could only reach a hospital after one of my friends who is a doctor requested the authorities to get an X-ray done,” lamented Rishabh Patil from Kasba Peth (name changed)
THE RADIOLOGISTS’ strike had crippled services to such an extent that doctors had no option but to defer the patient’s appointment indefinitely. “What can I do? There are no radiologists around. I have patients who are between 11th and 13th week of pregnancy and an ultrasound is crucial as one can pick up congenital anomalies or any other finding like Down’s Syndrome and others during this period. Naturally our patients are worried and keep calling every now and then,” Dr Sunita Tandulwadkar, in charge of the obstetrics and gynaecology department at Ruby Hall Clinic said. “However, we do believe that that Act needs certain amendments,” she added.
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In case an anomaly is detected during this time then a simple procedure can be done to abort the foetus. However if the abnormality is picked up after 20 weeks, then legally an abortion cannot be done, Dr Tandulwadkar said. “It is painful for our patients who keep calling us to find out if the radiologists’ strike has ended.”
At Jehangir hospital too, consulting gynaecologist Dr Nina Mansukhani said the radiologists were doing their best to treat emergency and in patient department patients despite the strike. “We really have no option but to tell the patients to come next week,” Dr Mansukhani said. It is not just obstetric ultrasound examinations that have been majorly affected but patients are finding it difficult to get even basic X’Ray examination done. Dr Kiran Shete, who has his own orthopaedic clinic admitted that there is a need for specialised X-ray films to understand how deep the problem is. Like other orthopaedic clinics too radiologists have not turned up and hence patients are affected as we have to ask them to visit the clinic after the strike is over.
At Sancheti hospital too, sonographies are not being done. “If a patient has a problem in the abdomen then we cannot do the sonography and instead have to resort to a CT Scan,” said Dr Chetan Pradhan, in charge of the trauma unit at Sancheti hospital.
Even cancer surgeon Dr C B Koppiker said that services have been paralysed. “We are calling patients after the strike as there is no radiologist to conduct a breast or abdomen ultrasound even for a cancer patient,” he said.