This scene has become only too familiar outside the diagnostic centres ( which offer ultrasound and x-ray tests) and the blood test laboratory at the city’s Mahavira Civil Hospital.
Harpreet said Sonia had been suffering from appendicitis and doctors had recommended an ultrasound on Tuesday, although the slip for the test was given only on Wednesday. “Despite this she was asked to wait for another day,” she added.
In a similar case, another city resident, Mamta, was denied a blood test on Wednesday and instead asked to come on another day. “This isn’t the first time this has happened. I’ve been coming here daily since Monday but each time the technician asked me to come later, just like he did today.
For the past three days I didn’t eat anything till noon since the blood test has to be done on an empty stomach,” Mamta said.
While patients continue to suffer there are others who receive privileged treatment and manage to get their checkups done at the hospital after pulling a few strings.
Though the timings for conducting diagnostic tests are from 8 am to 2 pm, patients alleged the staff often refused to conduct tests early in the morning.
Raman, who came with her one-and-a-half month old son, said, “It’s a sad state of affairs. No one bothers to guide patients here. In fact more than half of the time is spent just in finding the right counter or room where the tests are conducted.”
Claiming hospital staff were stretched most of the time, senior medical officer Dr RK Karkara said, “Both staff and doctors in the diagnostic centres are courteous with visitors. However, don’t forget they work under tremendous pressure and it’s not sometimes possible to deal with every patient individually.”
He added the hospital has been perennially facing a staff shortage. “Besides, the diagnostic machines installed at the hospital can cater to only a limited number of patients on any given day, as a result of which some of them have to be turned back and asked to come again”.
He denied doctors accorded preference to some patients. “The lab technicians and doctors always deal with emergency cases first,’’ he averred. As Sonia stood outside the ultrasound room at the hospital anxiously waiting to be called to get her test done, with her father holding her drip bottle, her sister, Harpreet, came and infor med them it could only be conducted the next day. Disappointed yet ag ain, her father took her back to her ward.