CT Scan failure hits Bir Hospital patients

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, June 27:

Patients at Bir Hospital are facing serious problems as the CT Scan machine is not functioning since May 15. "The hospital receives five to seven cases every month where the patient is unable to pay the entire charge for a CT Scan," said an employee of the Sanjeevani Sewa Samiti (SSS) at the hospital. While the hospital policy does not provide the CT Scan services for free, it is provided at a subsidised rate for the needy.The hospital charges Rs 2,200 for scanning the head and Rs 3,400 for scanning the chest and stomach. Even though the doctors have been referring the patients requiring CT Scan to other institutions, the patients have to pay nearly double the amount. Not to mention, the hassle of transporting the patient there, waiting in the queue and above all, the delay in treatment.

"It is especially difficult for the patients who need to have the scan urgently," said the SSS staff. Bir Hospital employees informed that they are facing setbacks due to the crashing of CT Scan machine. "Mostly the emergency, surgical and neurological wards are facing problems due to the machine failure," a doctor said. Dr Damodar Pokharel, medical superintendent of the hospital, said that they were trying their best to fix the machine. "We are doing the best we can to fix the damage and terribly regret the inconvenience it has caused to the patients." He further said that the recent media reports that patients were dying due to the break down of the machine were "invalid".

"CT Scan is only a diagnostic tool and it is not justified to say that people are dying because the machine is not working." The three-and-a-half-year-old machine stopped functioning on May 15 after a voltage trouble in the X-ray tube. When an engineer was consulted, he said that the equipment needs to be changed. The patients that require CT Scan are those suffering from epilepsy, brain tumours, head injuries, among others "I cannot pinpoint the date, but would like to assure that the machine will be fixed soon," said Dr Pokharel. "We are also working on getting a new machine." However, a doctor opined that it would be a while before the patients can avail the services again.