Dialysis machine lies idle at LHMC

A dialysis machine was bought for Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC) 17 years ago, when there were few of them in the city. It has been almost two decades, and the room housing the machine is still sporting a big lock.

The machine, bought on account of grant by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), cost Rs 17 lakh in 1997. But the machine was never put to use. There are rumours that the machine will be abandoned by the hospital now, leaving the Central government hospital without the services of dialysis.

Dialysis is a process for removing excess water and waste from blood. The machine is primarily used for patients whose kidney has become non-functional. It is called life-saving as patients with renal failure cannot survive without it. There are 27 dialysis machines in government hospitals in Delhi while the load of patients is two lakhs. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has one machine. Among Central government hospitals, in Safdarjung Hospital the machine is not functioning. The Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital has one working machine.

Six dialysis machines in hospitals of Municipal Corporation of Delhi and six under the Delhi government are functional.

Such a situation forces patients to move to private facilities for dialysis service.“I have to take my husband for dialysis thrice a week which costs Rs 2,000 each time. An NGO is collecting money for his kidney operation, but it is tough for me to keep him alive till then,” said Susheela, whose husband is being treated in LHMC.

The authorities in LHMC were not available for comment, but sources said the reason for not using the machine is non-availability of staff. “Once they advertised for a position to man the dialysis machine. No one joined. It has been years, and there is no one still,” said a staff member.

As reported by Deccan Herald earlier, the PCR machine, to test HIV positive cases among children below 18 months, has not been in use in the Kalawati Saran Children’s Hospital, an associated hospital of LHMC. 

In 2006, Kalawati Saran became the first hospital in Asia to have the facility for DNA Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test. The PCR Machine was bought for Rs 30 lakh. It is being sent to National Centre for Disease Control now. 

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