No end to sufferings of cardiac patients in KP

October 06, 2022

PESHAWAR: Though the government established the Peshawar Institute of Cardiology to provide treatment facilities to cardiac patients, there is no end to their sufferings.The irony is that cardiac...

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PESHAWAR: Though the government established the Peshawar Institute of Cardiology (PIC) to provide treatment facilities to cardiac patients, there is no end to their sufferings.

The irony is that cardiac patients brought to the emergency or cardiology departments of the public sector hospitals are referred to ill-equipped private hospitals in Peshawar for minor procedures such as pacemaker and electrophysiology study.

Pacemaker installation does not require a separate machine and the procedure could be performed in the cath lab.

According to the cardiologists, a dual chamber pacemaker ideally needs an electrophysiologist but any cardiologist can do a single chamber pacemaker installation in the cath lab.

The Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC) used to be the only hospital in the province that had a well-established electrophysiology department, headed by Prof Dr Zahid Aslam Awan, where patients requiring pacemakers would come from all over KP and nearby places in Punjab and Afghanistan.

The HMC’s cardiology department has almost stopped pacemaker installation and EP studies and patients are now referred to private hospitals in the city. Besides other factors, there are said to be two major reasons that led to an end of pacemaker installation and EP procedures in HMC.

The hospital administration has reportedly stopped sharing to the non-IBP doctors and that’s why they are avoiding pacemaker installation and EP study. Another reason is related to the lack of equipment as most of the machines meant for the cardiac surgery department were the property of a charity firm and have been shifted to a private hospital in Hayatabad.

According to the hospital administration, Prof Dr Zahid Aslam Awan, previous head of the cardiology department, had purchased these equipment through a charity firm and installed in HMC, where he was stated to have offered free services to the poor patients and generated funds from paid patients for his charity firm by using the charity equipment in HMC.

According to insiders at the hospital, Prof Dr Zahid Aslam Awan is going to retire so he allegedly shifted the equipment to his private hospital. He trained physiologists in his department, which is no longer an ideal place for cardiac patients.

Sources told The News that once patients were sent to the private hospitals, some of the doctors from cardiology department of HMC and other hospitals visited them to perform their procedures under the Sehat card. “If they do it in HMC, they will not get their share so better to refer the patients to the private hospitals,” an official told The News.

Besides many other painful stories of cardiac patients, the story of a female patient is a big question mark on the performance of KP’s public sector hospitals.

The patient was admitted to the cardiology department of the Mardan Medical Complex a few days back and the doctors referred her to the cardiology department of HMC after she became stable. In HMC, the attendants were told that since the machine was out of order it would be better to shift her to a private hospital.

She was taken to the private hospital but they were informed the machine wasn’t functioning.

Their requests didn’t help and by Tuesday night the patient was taken to the Peshawar Institute of Cardiology, where too, the patient was denied a bed and was told that they didn’t have this facility (pacemakers and EP study).

They used some connections and got a bed in the emergency department. However, the emergency department staff asked her attendants to vacate the bed as they needed to admit another patient. They made several requests but in vain. The patient was finally taken to the Lady Reading Hospital on Wednesday evening, but there they were advised to take her to the OPD on Thursday morning.

However, the patient was admitted to the cardiology department in LRH with the assistance of media manager Mohammad Asim Khan and his procedure is likely to be done by cardiologist Dr Malik Faisal Iftikhar

“Even if there is a shortage of pacemaker batteries nowadays, why have these procedures been stopped since long in the HMC. In EP procedures no pacemaker battery is needed,” opined a cardiologist in HMC on condition of anonymity.

When reached, Dr Niamat Shah, Hospital Director of the Peshawar Institute of Cardiology (PIC) said that due to the fall of the Pakistani rupee, the prices of pacemakers had gone up. “The suppliers are not supplying pacemakers in the previous agreed rate to any hospital including PIC. So currently the pacemaker is short and not available in the market.

The PIC has the doctors who have placed more than 50 pacemakers during the last two weeks, but they cannot do so now due to shortage of supplies,” he explained, adding that they will resume the services once the supply issue is resolved.

Dr Niamat Shah said pacemaker was an imported item and therefore they had to wait for the supplies to resume.

In HMC, chairman Board of Governors, Sahibzada Saeed when approached told The News that he would refer it to the medical director for necessary action.

They didn’t share their version about the issues related to the cardiology department of HMC.

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