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Garo Hills’ largest hospital in a shambles

Patients forced to go to Assam due to non-functioning equipment

TURA: Hundreds of patients every week are being compelled to seek medical support outside the Garo Hills region for the past couple of months because the oldest government hospital here, Tura Civil Hospital, is unable to provide the much needed service.
The reason is that three major equipment which are urgently required for diagnosis and treatment of diseases have broken down and no repairs or replacement has been initiated by the hospital authorities.
The Laparoscopy device, a surgical diagnostic procedure used to examine the organs inside the abdomen and provide low-risk, minimally invasive procedure that requires only small incisions, was damaged over two months.
“Since the camera of the Laparoscopy machine has been damaged surgeons have to conduct open surgery which is something we normally shouldn’t be doing had the machine been working. We are also compelled to turn away many patients because of this problem,” sources told The Shillong Times.
On any given day, at least four laparoscopic surgeries were conducted in the hospital but after the damage, patients are now going to private hospitals in Goalpara town and other parts of Assam for surgery.
“Surgeries for gall bladder removal, gall stone removal, appendicitis and gynaecological operations like removal of the uterus are no longer able to be done in this hospital because of the non-functioning laparoscopic machine,” revealed medics.
Another specialised diagnostic machine, the Endoscopy machine, meant to view and operate on internal organs and vessels of the body has remained unrepaired for two years.
“The endoscopy machine is already old and outdated and should have been replaced two years ago. Because of the non-availability of this machine we cannot conduct any diagnosis for stomach ulcers or even remove a small sample of tissue for biopsy purposes,” said doctors.
Even the basic X-ray machine is in need of replacement.
The sophisticated digital X-ray that was meant to provide pictures through cutting edge technology has not been functioning for the past three years due to want of repairs, and doctors and technicians are being forced to return to the ‘antique’ old method of manual X-ray using the wet film.
“The manual pictures are not at all clear and many a times it has to be retaken again which is not a healthy option also,” medics said.
The problems do not end there for the 200-bed Tura Civil Hospital where even the intensive care unit is manned by only three doctors against the minimum required strength of six.
The ICU does not even have the arterial blood gas analysis equipment meant to monitor oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood of critical patients.
The hospital still has one ultrasound machine even though there are two trained doctors for it. There is no CT scan machine and the last one that was transported several years ago was never installed, thereby reducing it to total damage.
The hospital is also facing another problem of manpower with some doctors not attending to duties for months. Medics allege that a lady doctor with cardiology training and medicine specialist who happens to be the head of the department has failed to attend to their medical duties for the last two years periodically popping up to collect their monthly dues.
“We are having our hands full with the rising number of patients every month but there is no support from those who do not attend to their duties,” allege the hospital staff.

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