Patients sweat for test reports as crooks prowl GMCH
By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, June 17: A laid-back attitude to everything, including inordite delay in giving reports of emergency screening tests, is casting a pall on the services Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) is providing. This is in stark contrast to the claim in its website that the hospital has a good reputation for the health services it renders.
The patience of patients and their attendants’ are worn thin when the hospital takes three to seven days for a report that is obtained within 12 hours in private hospitals.
The hospital charges Rs 800-3,000 for CT scan, and gives the report within 1-3 days. The reports are often delayed when there are complications.
For an MRI scan, the hospital charges Rs 3,000 and above. One can only imagine the plight of a patient when an MRI scan report is delayed, a regular if frustrating occurrence nowadays.
This is the hospital in the State where patients are referred to by various other government hospitals, as it has a plethora of costly diagnostic equipments procured at huge public expense. According to a source in the hospital, apart from its in-patients, the hospital has to do various tests of 800 to 1,200 out-patients.
In many a case, an accurate diagnosis is made after a series of tests, which is a time-consuming process, especially when test reports are delayed. What treatment is given to patients during their long stay in the hospital, prior to accurate diagnosis of their diseases, still remains an open question.
According to an inside source, there is a acute dearth of laboratory technicians in the GMCH. It has only 47 posts of laboratory technicians, with one post lying vacant. As many as 29 laboratory technicians are working in the hospital on contractual basis.
It seems the GMCH is figuring lower in the scheme of things as far as the State Health department is concerned, with as many as 81 laboratory technicians being appointed in the newly established Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Medical College at Barpeta.
It will be no exaggeration to call the strength of nurses in the hospital as ‘skeletal’. Manned by only 240 government-approved nurses, only one nurse has to look after an entire ICU cabin at night.
Allegations are rife about seriously ill patients not getting blood transfusion at critical times in the hospital. No tangible steps seem to have been taken to improve the working of its blood bank. Exchange of blood, if need be, takes an hour to four hours, a period that could prove fatal to a patient. The hospital authority conveniently stops short of issuing a notification in this regard, which more often than not, leads to clashes between hospital staff and attendants.
As for the security in GMCH, it is riddled with holes. During the day, the campus is teeming with security personnel, imparting a false sense of security. But at night it is starkly different, with many patients and attendants complaining about feeling unsafe, totally at the mercy of cheats and crooks.
There are allegations that fixers are on the prowl in the GMCH campus to dupe gullible patients and their attendants. There are frequent reports of frauds making false promises of getting medical tests done quickly, or helping to find accommodation or some city destition — and then making off with the money.
But instead of moving forcefully to make GMCH a safer place free of shady characters, the hospital authority seems to have washed its hands off the mece by just putting up a banner asking patients not to go for any transaction with strangers.