Ill-equipped labs fleece patients
EXPERTS SAY MANY TEST RESULTS ARE FLAWED
Srinagar, Feb 17: Most of the clinical labs in Kashmir overcharge patients despite lacking quality control, experts told Greater Kashmir.
While the local labs lack adequate equipment and expertise to carry out the tests, the functioning of reputed national labs is also under question mark.
“It is a routine for us to see reports which are inconsistent with life. Same samples get four different reports from four different labs and reliability of these tests is a question mark,” a senior doctor at SMHS Hospital told GK.
Quoting an example he said, “A patient admitted in Ward-6 of SMHS had done a test at a local lab where they had shown him with acute renal failure. “However, when the same test was done in the hospital, his kidneys were found normal, but he was suffering with brain infection. The tests at the local lab resulted in 48-hour delay in his treatment which could have proven deadly for the patient,” he added.
A renowned private practitioner on the condition of anonymity said, “Recently a patient approached me with altered consciousness. I asked him to do electrolytes as I suspected lessening of Sodium in his blood. But the report came as 170 meq of Sodium which is inconsistent with life.”
“Later I sent him to hospital for the test where the report showed his Sodium level as 120. I doubt whether the private lab knew what the test was all about and the poor patient was charged Rs 500. In hospitals same test is done for Rs 30,” he added.
The rot doesn’t end here. The reputed national clinical labs also fleece poor patients. “They have only set up collection counters here and it takes at least a week to get the report from Delhi. Sometimes the delay proves deadly,” said a senior medico.
Dr M I Qadri, former Head, Department of Haematology, SK Institute of Medical Sciences, said, “Transportation of blood samples impairs the quality and in certain tests it is absolutely not possible. For example, blood cell count tests should be done within 4-6 hours. Even simple blood sugar test can’t be sent to Delhi. It has to be tested within 30 minutes in an ordinary tube and within 6 hours in a special tube.”
Qadri said that number of local labs were using the letterheads of reputed labs. “The national labs have started a franchisee system whereby ill equipped local labs fleece patients.”
Dr Qadiri said on an average every month Kashmir loses more than Rs 50 lakhs as revenue due to national labs. “As they don’t have facilities here, they send the samples outside state and in the process Kashmir loses revenue as well as employment opportunities,” he said.
On improving the quality of labs, Dr Qadiri said that government should monitor the quality control as most of the labs were without supervision of a qualified doctor. “There should be surprise checks to the labs. Also present lot of technicians have to be trained properly,” he suggested.
Despite repeated attempts, Director Health wasn’t available for comment.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 17 Feb 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 17 Feb 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 18 Feb 2010 00:00:00 IST
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