LAHORE - It may sound funny but is a fact that Mayo Hospital, one of the oldest health care centres in south Asia, cannot treat even its own administrative head.

Dr Amjad Shehzad, the medical superintendent, had to be shifted to another hospital on Tuesday for his heart ailment as the cardiology centre at the Mayo Hospital, also the oldest such facility in the region, lacked the trained staff and equipment to handle this emergency case.

This may remind us one of that jokes pertaining to a restaurant manager, when a man went to a restaurant to have lunch. The food was not good which made him upset. He decided to meet the manager and asked the waiter to call him. “Sir, you cannot see him”, the waiter said in an apologetic tone. “Why?” asked the man angrily. “He is having lunch in the nearby restaurant”, replied the waiter.

Dr Amjad Shahzad was admitted to Mayo Hospital’s Cardiology Department after he felt pain in chest on Tuesday morning. But he could not receive treatment at the hospital due to lack of trained staff and dysfunctional equipment including the angiography machine. He had to be shifted to Punjab Institute of Cardiology where his angiography was carried out.

Thankfully, he is improving fast and doctors at PIC say he is in stable condition now.

Adviser to Punjab CM on Health Kh Salman Rafiq and Punjab Health DG Dr Zahid Pervaiz also visited him at the PIC and enquired after his health.

It also remains a fact that the rulers who boast of providing modern health care facilities to the people at home, prefer to go abroad even for their routine medical examination. This only shows their distrust on the very health institutions they have set up here.

Besides the poor state of affairs at health facilities in the public sector, same holds true in case of educational institutes. If a health facility cannot treat its head, public sector schools cannot educate the kids of bureaucrats responsible for managing the education sector. They send their children to state-of-the-art private schools instead of the ones run by them.

Coming back to Mayo’s cardiology centre, established in early 1960’s, official accounts say it has trained a large number of cardiologists, many of them serving abroad, but it’s not been improved over the years.

It was the first academic Cardiology Department in the country to have invasive cardiology setup in 1983. New Cardiac catheterisation was started in Oct 2004.

The Cardiology Department having 20 beds in ward and another 20 at CCU is taking only cold cases as there are neither trained doctors nor proper set up at Emergency Department to refer serious patients after preliminary treatment. In the absence of cardiologists and cardiac machines alongside beds, serious patients are referred to medical ward where they usually develop more complications.

At the time of establishment and some years after, the Mayo’s Cardiology Department continued to provide state-of-the-art treatment facilities to patients besides offering postgraduate training. However, the situation has deteriorated to such an extent that it cannot treat even its own administrators, let alone the general masses.