RTI study: Patients forced to get dialysis from private hospitals, only 6 machines working in KEM
Mumbai: A Mahim resident, Jitendra Tandel has started a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) ‘Rugnakalyan Seva’ to help patients get treatment at reduced prices, especially dialysis patients who are often forced to opt for expensive dialysis from private nursing homes or hospitals.
Tandel, a secretary of Rugnakalyan Seva, is a nephrology patient on dialysis since 14 years. He filed a Right to Information (RTI) in the first week of May asking for the number of dialysis units functioning at the King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital. He asked for information from April 1, 2018 to April 30, 2019.
In fact, in March 2018, the roof made of Plaster of Paris collapsed and the work is still ongoing. The work was stopped for some time, stating it is an heritage building and no changes can be made, worse still, the electric supply too gets disconnected.
“The work in other departments is going on smoothly in other departments, but right now, none in the dialysis department. As a result, the patients coming for dialysis are forced to get it done privately,” said Tandel.
Currently, there are 17 dialysis machines in KEM Hospital, of which only six are in working condition. This has forced many patients to stop going to KEM Hospital. The machines that have stopped functioning are due to prolonged construction work in the department.
Yearly 6,826 patients come for dialysis treatment out of which only 18 patients are treated everyday at the KEM Hospital.
This has led to a problem especially for the poor patients who cannot afford to pay Rs 1,200 to Rs1,400 for every dialysis treatment in private. It takes four hours for dialysis at KEM hospital and three-and-a-half hours at private hospitals. Patients suffer because only six machines are working and less number of patients are treated everyday. A patient, who comes for dialysis every alternate day, said, “Every time when we come for dialysis, we have to wait for more than an hour or two and at times we return without being treated.”
Patients have been inconvenienced and suffer more due to the delay. While speaking with The Free Press Journal, Hemant Deshmukh, dean, KEM Hospital, assured he will look into the matter.
“We will look into the matter as to why the dialysis department is still not functioning.” While the KEM Hospital civil works department Shivadas Gurav refused to comment.