Pakistan

Mayo not attending cardiac emergencies

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ASIF CHAUDHRY

LAHORE: The Accident and Emergency (A&E) department of Mayo Hospital denies treatment to patients with major heart attacks and other critical complications.

The teaching hospital is not taking cardiac emergencies since there are no designated beds and cardiac specialists at its multi-storey A&E department for heart patients.

Instead of attending patients, the doctors refer them to the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) or the other health facilities, endangering lives of many of those in need of critical treatment in the first “golden hour”.

The situation is alarming when the patients are rushed to the largest teaching hospital of the province with “major heart attack” but they are denied treatment.

An official, close to the information, says that in the absence of cardiologists, the doctors related to medicine discipline provide emergency cover to the patients visiting with minor heart diseases. After stabilising them, they refer the patients to the outpatient department (OPD) of the Mayo Hospital for admission or for further treatment.

“The doctors of almost every major discipline are deputed at the A&E unit on a rotation basis except the cardiology department,” he says, adding that only the staffers of Rescue 1122 know this critical deficiency and they prefer to shift the patients to either the PIC or the Shaikh Zayed Hospital.

The patients who are shifted by their relatives to the Mayo Hospital are unaware of this fact and they are visiting the hospital daily in utter ignorance.

Moreover, the Cardiology Department of this government hospital is also facing issues due to apathy of the government. Some critical surgical machines are lying dysfunctional and the health authorities are showing no interest in addressing the complaints in this regard. The angiography machine of the department has been out of order for the last many months. The coronary angiography is a test that uses a dye and special X-ray to show the insides of the coronary arteries. The thallium scan machine has been lying dysfunctional for the last 20 years or so. The thallium scan is a method of examining the heart to obtain information about the blood supply to the heart muscle.

The official holds primarily the health department responsible for the sorry state of affairs, saying the Cardiology Department had sent two separate PC-Is a year back in order to upgrade the department at a cost of Rs250 million.

A proposal was also shared in one PC-I for adding more positions for the postgraduate trainees in order to meet the growing needs of the patients at both the department as well as the A&E of the Mayo Hospital, he says. At least five separate beds, one senior registrar and three postgraduate trainees are required at the A&E department for the cardiac patients.

Established in the early 1960s, the 48-bed Cardiology Department of the Mayo Hospital is said to be the first and oldest unit all over the province.

Head of the Cardiology Department Prof Dr Muhammad Azhar says that according to current system the doctors of general medicine attend the patients of some related specialties, including cardiology, nephrology and medicines, at the A&E department of any general hospital.

Even then, his department has proposed in a PC-I, pending for approval with the authorities concerned, to add cardiac facility to the emergency department of the Mayo Hospital, he says.

“In the absence of the cardiologists, the doctors of the general medicine are responsible for treating critical cardiac patients at the emergency,” he says.

To a question about the out of order equipment, Dr Azhar says his department has also demanded new machines from the Punjab government through the PC-I. He explains that as the scheme is yet to be approved, a philanthropist has promised to replace the angiography machine with the new one.

Published in Dawn, April 28th, 2015

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