Hospital machines rusting

The Electroencephalogram Graph (EEG) and Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT) machines, that play a vital role in the investigation of epilepsy and treatment of the mentally ill patients, respectively, have been gathering dust in Psychiatric Hospital Jammu for last about five-six years for reasons best known to the concerned authorities. These two advanced machines are effective in relieving symptoms in severely depressed patients or patients who suffer from mania or other mental disorder. A course of ECT is followed by psychotherapy and medicine under a psychiatrist’s care. EEG machine continues to be of immense investigative value in the management of neuro-pathological disorders such as epilepsy.
These two machines are considered very useful in diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders, like trauma, deep depression etc. In modern medical science, very useful machines have been developed by scientists and engineers together to induct new methods of treatment of diseases. The government has never hesitated in providing full facilities to our hospitals in the matter of either infrastructure or the quality of faculties. However, there is some lack of human element somewhere, which plays a negative role. The technical expert who had been handling the EEG machine until 2008-09, has taken up additional assignment after promotion and is now rendering service in three hospitals with the result that he is not available for the Psychiatrist Hospital. Other technicians never put the machine to use. The one who is expected to be at it is drawing salary from Psychiatrist Hospital but extending services in Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Super Specialty Hospital and SMGS Hospital except the Psychiatrist Hospital, where he is deputed. After his promotion and transfer, the machine was put in charge of a non-technical functionary of the hospital including a nurse but since they did not have any knowledge or technical expertise, the machine has remained out of use for last six years gathering rust.
By this curious and illogical administrative decision, in which authorities allow him to render service at multiple places, a good number of patients in Psychiatrist Hospital, who are to receive treatment from these machines, remain deprived of the facility. This is callous and unjust. No argument can support the way in which the services of the technical expert are deliberately denied to the patients.  The story of ECT machine is no less bizarre. It is used in the treatment of severe depression and other mental illnesses in the patients, but has been lying unused since 2008-09 because of the non-availability of anesthetist. For putting ECT to use for a patient, services of a psychiatrist and an anesthetist are essential but the hospital lacks an anesthetist. This forces doctors to depend on drugs to treat even patients suffering from resistant mania or severe life-threatening depression though it is a lengthy process.
The point we like to bring home by citing these two instances is that there is lack of vision and planning in our hospital administration.  It is just possible that on the paper one finds requisite technical staff provided to a medical institute yet in practice this stands contradicted by what actually prevails. The situation in the Psychiatrist Hospital stands witness. This is also true in some more cases in the government run hospitals. Modern machines devised for hospital for curing or investigating various ailments are largely complicated. These need highly skilled and trained persons to handle. While sanctioning the purchase of these expensive machines the medical authorities should also arrange for the technical staff to handle them otherwise the purchase would go waste and people will have no benefit out of them. No one section of medical support can thrive at the cost of the other. We expect the Health Department to take note of the situation in Psychiatrist Hospital, Jammu and remove the aberration without loss of time.


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