KATHMANDU, June 16: Patients have been deprived of CT-scan service at Bir Hospital, which is subsidized, since a year as the equipment at the hospital has been out of order.
The Radiology Department of the hospital, which is the central referral centre of the nation, said that several other vital equipment, including the CT-scan, need immediate replacement as they have been non functional for years.
The hospital sends its patients, including the seriously injured and neuro cases, to the private centers for scanning, which, doctors say, is full of risk.
To recover their huge investment, private centers also charge patients exorbitantly compared to what they would pay at Bir had the service been available.
The lack of CT-scan services at the hospital, which is under the National Academy of Medical Sciences (NAMS), has also denied the students pursuing MD, MS and higher degrees in medicine of a learning opportunity.
Every day hundreds of patients are being compelled to go to private centers for radiology services.
According to Dr Dhurbalal Singh, chief of emergency services at Bir, doctors have no choice but to send seriously injured and neuro patients to other places. Doctors in the neurology department of hospital said that they have to send patients out of hospital for CT-scan report before and after operation.
“We send patients mostly to Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH) and to the Kathmandu Model Hospital for CT-scan report,” Dr Singh said.
Middlemen and in many cases employees at the hospital themselves take undue advantage by sending patients to the private centers. An employee, who asked not to be named, said that he receives commission from private centers for sending patients. He revealed that sending patients to private centers is a trend and many employees do it for commission.
The doctors and students had exerted pressure on hospital administration many times for bringing the service into operation but no avail. Resident doctors and students had halted all operations of radiology department last December demanding repair of CT-scan and other equipment. The hospital administration and NAMS promised immediate maintenance but nothing has been done till now.
“We feel ashamed to say that we do not have CT-scan machine as the hospital is a central level hospital,” Dr Mukunda Pathi, Registrar of NAMS said. Dr Panthi, who was previous chief of the department, said the machines require big budget beyond NAMS means and necessitate government support.
The fluoroscopy x-ay of the hospital has been defunct since two years. In the absence of the machine, the doctors cannot conduct special x- ray, which is very vital for diagnosing problems. He said even a normal x-ray machine of the hospital is archaic.
The radiology department is a vital income source for Bir as it generates about 60 percent of the hospital´s total income.
But due the hospital´s inability to provide radiology services, it is facing acute financial crisis to pay salaries to its staffers. VC Pokhrel said that about 90 million is needed to pay its staffers in this fiscal year. He said that hospital will approach finance ministry for financial assistance to pay salaries to its staffers.