CT-Scan, MRI lying defunct at SKIMS; cancer hospital lift also inoperative

Patient care hit as Admn says working to resolve issues

Irfan Tramboo
SRINAGAR, June 4: Patient care at the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Soura, has gone for a toss, as both the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and CT-Scan machines have been rendered non-functional for an extended period. Shockingly, the hospital authorities have shown little concern in addressing the critical issue, leaving patients to suffer the consequences.
As a result of the unavailability of these vital diagnostic facilities, patients are left with no choice but to seek these essential tests from private diagnostic laboratories located outside the hospital premises.
Excelsior has learned that the MRI machine has been non-operational for nearly a year, due to the non-availability of the defunct hardware. Furthermore, out of the two available CT-Scan machines, one remains out of order, while the other frequently encounters technical snags.
A concerning aspect of the situation is that the sole functioning CT-Scan machine has been burdened with the responsibility of serving patients from multiple areas, including the wards, Out Patient Department (OPD), and the Emergency Section, which not only results in prolonged waiting times but also creates significant difficulties for patients in receiving timely medical services.
Due to the sorry state of affairs and apparently dented patient care at the hospital, people usually get the appointments for the CT-Scan after a gap of 1-2 months, while those who can afford it, get it done from the private labs.
Also, what is interesting here to note is that one of the private labs outside the SKIMS has fixed the rates of CT-Scan similar to the rates charged by the hospital and, in a way, cashes on the lack of facility at SKIMS.
Concerning the MRI machine, SKIMS authorities have encountered difficulties in procuring the necessary hardware to restore its functionality while the ground reality is that the patients are subjected to unnecessary hardships, with no alternatives but to seek services from the private sector.
This is not it. Excelsior has further learned that the lift installed at the State Cancer Hospital at SKIMS, Soura is also lying defunct for the last nearly 6 months, with no measures taken to address the issue, the patients are facing a tough time.
Riyaz Ahmad, an attendant at SKIMS, expressed his frustration, stating, “People are constantly forced to endure difficulties at SKIMS and are left with no choice but to turn to the private sector for services. This proves especially burdensome for the poor and needy. Whether it is the MRI or the CT-Scan, these critical patient services are not provided seamlessly within the hospital.”
Dr Farooq Jan, Medical Superintendent of SKIMS, informed Excelsior that significant measures are being taken to rectify the issue with the CT-Scan machine. He stated, “We have already initiated the procurement process, and we expect the new machine to arrive soon. The current one has exceeded its operational lifespan, and we have already placed an order for a new, imported machine.”
Regarding the MRI machine, Dr Jan mentioned that the existing one is operational. However, he acknowledged the ongoing efforts to acquire a new machine for the hospital. Additionally, Dr Jan addressed the matter of the malfunctioning lift at the State Cancer Hospital, mentioning that administrative hurdles related to funding are hindering its repair.