The diagnostic facilities at Kashmir’s premier tertiary care hospital Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences are in total collapse.
According to sources,even the basic laboratory equipment like glassware,chemicals,reagents are not available. The supplies have not been received at the hospital since 2007.
Here is the list of diagnostic tools and techniques which have not been available in the hospital.
* Emergency lab-Arterial Blood Gas (ABG) test to determine gas exchange levels in the blood related to lung function,but has a variety of applications in other areas of medicine. Serum Electrolyte test (Sodium,Potassium) is also not available. These tests,doctors say,are of critical importance.
* Biochemistry-Amylase testing for blood and urine to monitor acute or chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) and other disorders that may involve the pancreas.
* Phosphorus- This testing is used to help diagnose and evaluate the severity of conditions and diseases that affect the gastrointestinal tract,interfering with the absorption of phosphorus,calcium,and magnesium. Testing also can help to diagnose disorders that affect the kidneys,interfering with mineral excretion and conservation,and phosphorus levels are carefully monitored in people with kidney failure.
* Radiology-Colour Doppler sonography and ultrasound,X-ray L/S Spine,Mammography ( a process of using low-dose amplitude-X-rays to examine the human breast).
* Heamatology LabEntire coagulation profile is not available for last 3 days. Doctors reveal that the tests are essential for the assessment of liver function,pre-operative screening before surgery. CBC reagent -short supply 5-6 days.
* Microbiology Lab – Blood culture (not available since January 2009),AFB staining and alcohol,PPD- Montoux test for tuberclosis not being done for 4 to 5 days.
* Immunology- CA-125,L -1 Antitrypsin,Anti LS-DNA-genetic marker,c3,c4,rheumatoid factor,progesterone,BHCG —hormones tests to confirm pregnancy.
When contacted,Director SKIMS,Dr Hameed Zargar said that there are instances when 10,15 days are lost in transit. Every test is important for a patient,” he said. But sometimes the demand is so much that it is hard to manage”. He put the lack of resources as the main reason for ”temporary non-availability of funds” for these essential facilities. It (patient turnout) has come up from 5 lakh to 30 lakh in last half a decade. The funds have not been increased proportionally. Whatever the increase in budget goes into prize hike? Once we spend the money,what do we do after that? We go and plea for more funds. He said SKIMS is subsequently a primary,secondary and a tertiary care hospital. ”We want to offer as many facilities as we can. But at times there is a break for a week or so during transitory period. You have to get some stuff from Mumbai and it doesn’t reach in time,” he said.
Though the SKIMS doctors and patients admitted in the hospital insisted that the diagnostic facilities are not functioning,the head of the department Biochemistry Syed Mudasir insisted that everything is well.
Testing is happening as a routine. Like in any machine some faults develop in out multi channel analyzer,but we have trained staff for trouble shooting. It’s a tertiary care hospital and we cannot stop tests,” she said.