Are the medical facilities in our hospitals any good?
edicine is one of the most popular professions pursued by the young in Pakistan. It is also one of the few sectors that are believed to be operating on a par with international standards. The country has produced some world class doctors. But does that translate into world class medical help at our hospitals, chiefly those in public sector? I doubt.
My nana, a 79-year-old man, has had issues with prostrate since 2007 — he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Although he recovered, he needs consistent treatment in order to check the formation of strictures and other illnesses. Recently, he was told that his heart could not take the burden of general anesthesia, so a separate procedure would be sought out — that is, via a suprapubic catheter. The biggest problem in all this was nana’s anxiety, which surfaces every time before and during medical procedures.
Anyway, we booked the procedure for him at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH), Lahore, where he had been seeing a doctor for his issues. We were told that the procedure was entirely possible without anesthesia and without error. On the day of the procedure, my nana was prepared for surgery and sent to the pre-op only for his family to be informed that the hospital did not have the kit to do the procedure.
For a good three hours, my nana was kept in the pre-operative room without his family (because they weren’t allowed in), while we were told to find the suprapubic kit ourselves. We rushed to other pharmacies in Lahore, as the hospital’s own pharmacy did not have the kit. The one place we found the kit at was half an hour’s drive away, but they only supplied the thing on hospital’s orders.
Our public hospitals must own their patients. It is understandable that they may sometimes run out of the required tools, but a simple system of storage management could have stopped the pain my grandfather and his family went through.
The procedure was time-sensitive, as more patients were in the queue, waiting because the kit (which the hospital had promised to get) was not in the supplies.
It is hard to think that the procedure had been booked days in advance, and was confirmed, and they only told the family that they did not have the necessary tools 10 minutes before the procedure was scheduled to start.
It is even more puzzling to think how they asked the family to get the tool themselves, and expected them to run around the city with little or no medical knowledge whatsoever.
This kind of experience with the hospital community isn’t unique to our family. I’m sure the common people have to go through such travails routinely. It is indeed harrowing to see such apathy. This must cease to be. Our hospitals must own their patients. It is understandable that they may sometimes run out of the required tools, but a simple system of storage management could have stopped the pain my grandfather and his family — us — went through.
The writer is a student based in Lahore