Head of LRH’s intensive care unit resigns over lack of medicines – Newspaper

PESHAWAR: The head of intensive care unit of Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) has resigned from his post, citing non-availability of drugs for critically-ill and injured patients at the hospital as a reason.

He has written a letter to the administration, saying LRH is the largest public sector tertiary care hospital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and bordering part of Afghanistan but it is unable to provide intravenous fluids, pain medications, antibiotics, intravenous cannulas, central lines, medicines for sedation and comfort of patients on ventilators, endotracheal tubes and even lifesaving medications to patients in ICU.

“The head of ICU in LRH has resigned today (Sunday). Where will these patients go? As a concerned physician, as a citizen of Pakistan and as a human being, I request that these medicines and equipment must be made available or these services must be closed immediately so that patients can go somewhere else,” says the letter.

LRH spokesman Mohammad Asim confirmed his resignation but said he had quit due to family issues. “Yes, head of ICU has resigned and given three-month notice to the administration,” he told this scribe when asked about the resignation of intensive care unit head.

Spokesperson says hospital waiting to get Rs2bn from executor of free treatment scheme

He said that ICU treatment was expensive and patients had to bring all the medicines from outside because pharmacy of the hospital needed funds to purchase medicines for those patients. “Local purchase has also been stopped,” he added.

LRH, the oldest health facility of the province, has been facing severe financial crisis as the government is not releasing its funds, according to doctors. They said that ICU chief resigned just because he wanted medication for patients.

“This is the case with other departments of the hospital including cardiac surgery and cardiology unit. We don’t have resources to provide even lifesaving drugs to patients,” said the doctors working at LRH.

They said that fund shortage led to stoppage of free provision of injections to stroke patients. They said that they started administering a new injection to save lives of stroke-hit patients but it had been stopped for the past one month.

“Since starting the injection first time in the hospital, we have provided it free of cost to 40 patients with excellent results,” a physician at LRH told this scribe. Now, due to severe financial crunch, the administration has topped its purchase and patients are buying it from the market.

“The hospital is giving Rs10,000 to each patient requiring the injection. Its price is about Rs85,000,” he said. He added that the medicine called tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) saved lives of patients and protected them from disabilities caused by stroke.

“It is used in hyper acute stroke within three hours to open up clotted artery. It is administered to patients after very careful selection process. So far, results are excellent as all 11 patients are doing well,” said the physician.

Mr Asim said that they had been trying their level best to ensure that the patients were not suffered. However, LRH was waiting to get Rs2 billion from the State Life Insurance Corporation (SLIC) in lieu of Sehat Card Plus (SCP), he added.

“Chairman of Board of Governors and other senior officials in the administration are in touch with the government and SLIC to get funds and ensure provision of elective as well as emergency services to patients,” he said.

Doctors at the hospital fear that a huge brain drain is expected due to lack of funds. “We have joined the hospital because we earned good amount from SCP, which has now been stopped. As per law, we are not allowed to do private practice outside the hospital,” said a consultant at LRH.

Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2023

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