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Allied’s faulty MRI machine the bane of patients

Allied’s faulty MRI machine the bane of patients

FAISALABAD: Frequent malfunctioning of the sole Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine at the Allied Hospital is creating problems for the patients as well as the administration.

Except Allied none of the other state-run hospital in the city has the MRI test facility.

Private hospitals here are charging from Rs10,000 to Rs15,000 per MRI test, while the Allied Hospital charges only Rs2,500 to Rs3,500 for it and for the poor patients, the test is free.

MRI tests are usually prescribed to those undergoing spinal, brain and abdominal surgeries.

The MRI machine worth millions of rupees had been installed at the hospital in 2009 and its life span completed in June last.

The hospital administration says it has already furnished request for replacement of the machine to the Punjab government. Meanwhile, the old is being used through its regular maintenance, it adds.

Patients from different districts, including Chiniot, Faisalabad, Jhang, Toba Tek Singh, Bhakkar, Sargodha, Mianwali and Khushab visit the Allied Hospital daily for treatment of different ailments.

Patients are also referred to the hospital from the district headquarters hospital, beside General Hospitals of Ghulam Mohammadabad and Samanabad for MRI tests.

Sources say that given the machine’s condition, it is used for minimum number of tests and because of its frequent malfunction patients are forced to get the tests conducted at a private facility that charges them exorbitantly.

They say gradually the machines ability to conduct the test is declining and it gets heated frequently and stops working. Even at its maximum capacity, 10 to 20 tests could be conducted.

Punjab Medical College Principal Dr Fareed Zafar, who is also the chief executive officer of the Allied and DHQ hospitals, told Dawn that Health Secretary Najam Shah had recently been apprised of the machine’s condition.

He said the machine was working round the clock and developed faults sometimes. He said the hospital had signed a maintenance contract with the seller to keep it functional. However, he added that the maintenance cost of the machine was very high.

“We are trying to convince the seller to replace it (the machine) with a new one so that we can save million of rupees from public money. Soon, a policy will be framed in this regard,” Dr Zafar said.

He said the price of MRI machine varies in the market from Rs80 million to Rs200 million. The Allied Hospital had been trying to make the machine functional with minimum maintenance cost that was Rs6.4 million annually, he added.

Other health institutions were spending far higher amounts on the maintenance of such machines, he added.

Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2016

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