Hospital blues.

RECENTLY, I had the misfortune of making a number of visits to a leading private-sector hospital in Islamabad, and found it to be under immense pressure due to inadequate health facilities in the capital and its surroundings.

Apparently, the hospital and its subsidiary have monopolised the health sector in Islamabad and are doing a roaring business by charging exorbitant fees for different services on offer. Despite being so expensive, the parking lots, corridors, waiting halls, out-patient clinics and laboratories remain packed all day long. The inpatient occupancy rate is just as amazing.

The thing that irked me the most in my interactions was the zeal with which everyone at the hospital promotes laboratory tests and the insistence to have them all done at the hospital itself 'in order to safeguard our patients'.

Surprisingly, a non-contrast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan done at the hospital was found not good enough by the consulting physician at the hospital, and the patient was advised to have 'further evaluation with post-contrast MRI'.

Would it not have been better if, in the first instance, an MRI with contrast was prescribed? This would have saved time, money and frequent pricking of the veins and being exposed to radiation and magnetic rays over and over again.

Further, the lab reports are normally provided in 12-24 hours, and are directly transmitted to the consulting doctor online. As a rule, doctors or their assistants should update the patients about the further course of action. However, one has to collect the hard copies of the reports and personally wait in the queue to have the doctor's advice.

As per hospital policy, if the reports are presented and examined by the doctor within seven days of the first visit, the consultation is free. In such a...

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