Islamabad - Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences administration on Saturday decided to implement a referral system between hospitals before shifting any patient to PIMS.

The implementation of this system was suggested on the grounds that PIMS has an insufficient number of ventilators for all the patients being referred from other hospitals. The number of ventilators at PIMS is above one hundred, while the daily influx of patients at the hospital reaches thousands in number.

Asma Bano* sustained burn injuries from a cylinder blast in Peshawar and was referred to PIMS Burn Care Center in critical condition.

“My sister’s body was burned above 70percent and we took her to BCC but her life couldn’t be saved because there was no ventilator,” said Waqas Khan, brother of Asma.

According to him, there were already dim chances of his sister surviving but the shortage of ventilators and beds added to their miseries. The patient could not be put on a ventilator and succumbed to her injuries.

“We don’t blame the doctors, but the shortage of important medical equipment is also responsible for her death,” said Waqas.

According to an estimate, 10000 patients visit the Outdoor Patients Department and 3000 visit the emergency department on a daily basis. On average, seven patients are prescribed to be put on ventilator everyday but majority are refused the facility due to its inadequacy.

To meet the challenge, the administration issued an order to build a proper referral system between hospitals to confirm the availability of ventilator before shifting a patient to PIMS.

“It has been observed that majority of the patients referred to PIMS from different hospitals of Pakistan are facing a lot of inconvenience due to lack of mutual coordination and non-implementation of a proper referral system. A number of patients are referred to PIMS without confirming availabilities of bed and other facilities”.

The order further directed all concerned doctors and hospitals to refer the patients to PIMS after confirming the bed positions in Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) Surgical ICU, Peads ICU, Neurology ICU, Critical Care Unit (CCU) and BCC.

An official said that MICU has 09, SICU 12, PICU12, BCC12, CCU12, NICU12, and Cardiac Center06, Gynecology 14, and above ten ventilators are on extra beds.

The official said that number of ventilators in the hospital is not short if the influx of the patients referred from other hospitals of the country is controlled.

“Nearly seven patients from outside are recommended for the ventilator everyday and a few from the medical ward are also sent,” he said.

The official said that the shortage of the ventilators for new patients often results in scuffle between the medical officers and attendants of the patients.

Deputy Director PIMS Emergency Dr. Faruukh Kamal talking to The Nation said that patients in critical condition from across the region are referred to PIMS while the facility is already catering to thousands of citizens.

He said that it is not possible to return any patient from the government hospital but the non-availability of vacant ventilators leads to difficulties for the administration.

“Sometimes patients in ambulances are returned on non-availability of ventilator,” said Dr. Farrukh.

He added that when administration shows helplessness in resolving the situation, attendants blame doctors which often results in violent acts.

In the last two months, two incidents of clash between medical officers and attendants occurred when the latter were told that there is no non-vacant ventilator in the hospital.

Dr. Farrukh also said that there is a huge difference in the price of ventilator between private and public sector hospital. Private hospitals are completely unaffordable for poor people.

“Expense of a ventilator at a private hospital in the city is around Rs75000 per day while at PIMS it is free of cost or Rs1000 for private patients,” said Dr. Farrukh.

He said that new Standard Operating Procedures have been introduced to create a balance between the flows of patients to PIMS. He said that all hospitals have been written to confirm the availability of ventilator before referring any patient to PIMS to avoid and unpleasant situation.

 The public sector hospitals in the federal capital are controlled by Ministry of Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) which failed to build any hospital in the area in the last year.

Only two facilities including Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) and Federal Government Services Hospital (Polyclinic) had to provide healthcare to the large number of the patients despite limited availability of facilities.

CADD had announced construction of three ‘state-of-the art’ hospitals in the federal capital under Prime Minister Health Program (PMHP). As a part of the program, the authorities had announced construction of 46 hospitals across the country. However, not a single brick of the hospitals was laid.

Spokesperson PIMS Dr. Waseem Khawaja said that all ventilators at hospital are functional and available for patients when required.

He said implementation on new order will help hospital administration to deal with number of patients referred to PIMS from other hospitals.