Hundreds of kidney patients, who were dialysed at Nishtar Hospital between the years 2011 and 2014, are feared to have contracted hepatitis C from hospital’s dialysis machines, The Nation has learnt.

Hospital sources confirmed that all dialysis machines became hepatitis positive because of either negligence of the dialysis unit staff or connivance of Nishtar lab technicians as an HCV positive patient was dialysed on these machines repeatedly during the aforementioned four-year period.

The patient was identified as Khalid while Medical Superintendent of Nishtar Hospital Dr Ashiq Malik said that the issue was being investigated. “Probably, the patient tempered his test reports and got himself dialysed on machines allocated for the hepatitis negative patients. We’ll take action against him,” said Dr Ashiq Malik when contacted.

A patient namely Kamran Habib, who contracted hepatitis C from the hospital machine, told this scribe that the patients fell prey to the liver-killer virus because of negligence of senior doctors of the dialysis unit. I know at least 40 patients who were not HCV patients, but now they have become hepatitis C positive. They are all victims of these machines.”

Mr Habib maintained that no senior doctor of the ward ever visited or inquired about the condition of the patients, creating room for negligent practices. Nishtar sources disclosed that the patient, who infected the machines, was caught accidently when a test report slipped out of his file and a doctor noticed that he was mentioned hepatitis C positive in it.

The victim claimed that the medical staff appointed at dialysis unit committed sheer negligence while checking the medical reports of the dialysis patients. “The patients are dialysed on the basis of just initial screening reports instead of conducting their enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) tests. Once an HCV patient is dialysed on a negative machine, the apparatus also gets infected and becomes positive,” he added.

He demanded the Punjab chief minister and health high-ups should take notice of the ordeal of poor kidney patients on dialysis and issue order for launching of an impartial inquest besides launching of action against the negligent staff.