The radio-diagnosis department of the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, is using two ultrasound machines whose life span has expired for the past few years, stated an audit report from the principal director of audit (central), Chandigarh.
“The machines were purchased to get correct results. And the effective treatment is depended only on the correct results,” it stated.
“As these machines have completed the their lifespan in October 2013, its constant use may have distorted results, affecting the final outcome of the treatment,” mentions the report.
In reply, the department stated that it’s not compromising with the diagnoses of the patients.
“The end of the life span of a machine is only for the repair purpose. And machines can work even after that, until or unless they are out of order. So the department is not compromising with the quality of diagnoses.”
Not satisfied, the auditors stated, “But the fluctuation in results conducted on them can’t be ruled out.”
In another report, the audit had flagged the issue of purchasing of the machines.
The radio-diagnosis department bought the ultrasound machines in 2006. Their comprehensive annual maintenance contract (CAMC) was given to a Delhi-based supplier, Shimadzu Pvt Ltd, for three years, after the expiry of its two-year warranty period. The CAMC also expired in October 2013, and the hospital requested to the company to extend the contract for six months.
However, when the hospital asked the firm to submit fresh CAMC rates for the next five years, it refused to sign the contract, citing “the ultrasound machines have already crossed the lifespan”. “Also, its production is now stopped,” stated the audit.
Dr Atul Sachdev, director principal, GMCH-32, said, “There is no shelf life of an ultrasound machine, which is an operator-dependent machine. If the operators are satisfied, they can be used for long. It’ll not produce distorted results.”
Dr Naveen Kalra, a radiologist at the PGIMER, said, “There is no fix shelf-life of an ultrasound machine, except that with time, its image quality deteriorates. Technology keeps on changing, and you need to update them to get better results.”