LAHORE - Lack of space is causing hardships to the extent of humiliation to the poor while the paying and privileged patients are getting benefits of available facilities at Punjab Institute of Cardiology, TheNation has learnt.

The influential and paying patients can easily get admission to Indoors while the poor could only receive treatment under adverse and humiliating atmosphere at Emergency because of less availability of as there is hardly any space for them in wards.

Total bed capacity of PIC is 420 including Angiowards, Emergency, Coronary Care Units (CCUs), Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Jilani Block, Irfan Block, Pre Operation and private rooms. Emergency can refer patients only for 180 beds.

Patients referred by Chief Minister Secretariat, Chief Executive of the Institute, Medical Superintendent and senior consultants can get admission in wards alongside paying patients while those having no resources can access only Emergency for getting treatment on stretchers, wheelchairs and even on floor.

“PIC is not enough to cater the requirements of even Lahore when patients from across the province are visiting the health facility for treatment of heart ailment.

What to say of making cardiac facilities at Mayo Hospital and Jinnah Hospital functional when the government is not serious in establishing proper Institutes in major cities,” said a doctor performing duties at Emergency who wanted not to be quoted. “This is causing huge influx of patients at PIC and the existing infrastructure is insufficient to cater the requirements. “The category system has almost made it impossible for the poor to get some relief. As many as 1200 to 1500 patients visit originally 14-bed Emergency.

The management has made it a 24-bed Emergency by placing stretchers and treating patients on wheelchairs.

The capacity is further enhanced by making 8-bed CCU-IV a step down emergency. Though cardiac patients require most relax atmosphere, 2-3 are accommodated on one bed. Owing to the lack of space, doctors even provide treatment to the patients on the floor,” he added.

Another doctor said: “There is no mechanism for exit of patients from Emergency. Normally, a patient requires admission in Indoors for 3-5 days. In case of heart attack, every minute matters and patient requires comfortable environment.

Extra ordinary rush and lack of space is harmful for the patients. Due to lack of beds at wards, we usually keep patients and directly discharge him/her from Emergency.”

“Seven bed CCU-III is only for paying patients. Collective capacity of CCU-I and CCU-II is 24 beds. Management has verbally instructed doctors at Emergency to refer only paying and entitled patients to CCU-I and CCU-II.

“As such majority of the patients at CCUs are paying, entitled or protocol patients. There is no room for the poor patients at any of the CCU,” he added.

Giving reasons of not accommodating the poor at CCUs, the doctor said that treatment of paying and entitled patients earn share for clinical doctors and paramedical staff. Money collected from the treatment of paying patients is divided according to a formula. 45 per cent goes to the government, 35 to clinical doctors and 20 per cent to paramedics. As such all doctors and allied staff is getting huge amount in addition to salaries, he informed this scribe.

Referring to miseries of poor patients, he said the management has also banned angioplasty/stunting of symptomatic cardiac patients at Emergency or in same admission.

“We normally carried out angioplasty of symptomatic cardiac patient at Emergency to save his/her life. This practice has been banned about three years back. Now patients require discharge and fresh admission for lifesaving angioplasty,” he maintained. Patients have to wait for months and even over a year for important tests and procedures.

“Waiting time for Angiography is 12-14 months, Echocardiography 14-16 months, Angioplasty 3-4 months and CT Angio 2-3 months,” he further briefed.