At SMHS Hospital, a long wait for cardiac patients to get procedures done

Two-day workshop on drug de-addiction held at SMHS hospital in Srinagar

Patients visiting Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar here for cardiology-related procedures have to wait for months for their turn owing to “under-utilisation” of the facilities.

Both SMHS Hospital and Super Specialty Hospital (SSH) which function under Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar have functional cath labs.

However, at SMHS Hospital, which has a well-equipped cath lab that would cater to all cardiology load till 2018, procedures are being carried out only once a week, said a senior doctor.

He said for the remaining days, the lab remains locked, although almost all cardiac emergencies land up at SMHS Hospital during the remaining days of the week also.

“From SMHS Hospital, patients are then shifted to Super Specialty Hospital for procedures as the lab at SMHS remains locked,” he said.

At SSH lab, the doctor said, patients’ rush doesn’t allow doctors to carry out many procedures and often, life saving and heart muscle saving primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and other interventions are get deferred.

The Primary PCI is carried out immediately after a heart attack and saves the patient from life long dead heart muscle, the doctor said.

He said owing to this “scanty output”, work has accumulated and cardiac patients, visiting the hospital, are getting date months later, for critical life saving procedures.

According to the hospital records, currently, patients requiring radio-frequency ablation (RFA) for arrhythmia are being dated for December, while as for stents and secondary PCI patients are getting dates in September.

The delay, the doctor said, could obviously result in deterioration of condition of many heart patients. “The delay in these important heart procedures increases chances of death at times,” he said.

The doctor added that many, who could afford, were turning to private hospitals here or outside to expedite medical interventions to save heart muscle and improve their health. “But those patients who can’t afford such procedures in private sector are getting a sentence of ill-health,” he said.

An official at the hospital said although the GMC has 10 cardiologists at present, the strength was being utilized for one cath lab at SSH while it could very well cater to two labs.

While comparing the cardiology work output of Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) with GMC associated hospitals, the official said, the SKIMS has just seven cardiologists but even at night time, they are able to do primary PCI and it is ensured that whatever other procedure the patient needs, they aren’t delayed.

Principal GMC Srinagar, Prof Parvaiz A Shah however said the SMHS Hospital cath lab doesn’t remained locked. “Whenever it is needed, it is being put to use,” he said.

He added that administration has worked out a plan to avoid “duplication of services” in two cath labs and that the cardiology department of the college had a robust system in place to prevent loss of lives.

“We have a state-of-art lab at SSH and SMHS lab also remains functional as and when required, even during night,” he said.