She needs immediate heart surgery. AIIMS says come back in 2025

Nusreen from Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, suffers from acute heart disease. But the country's biggest government hospital cites unavailability of date till 2025 and instead advises her to go to some other hospital. Nusreen's poor family can't afford to go to a private hospital

Chandrakant MishraChandrakant Mishra   23 Aug 2019 7:57 AM GMT

She needs immediate heart surgery. AIIMS says come back in 2025

Thirty-one-year old Nusreen from Meerut, Uttar Pradesh needs immediate heart surgery. She, however, is in a state of shock after the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, handed her over a prescription slip which mentioned that as there is a wait for surgeries till 2025 at the country's biggest government hospital, she should instead go to some other hospital.

"I suffer from a heart ailment, which requires immediate surgery, but there is a long wait in AIIMS till 2025 for surgery. The doctors there have advised me to seek other hospitals for the operation. I don't know whether I'd survive that long," said Nusreen as she breaks into sobs while speaking.

Suffering from acute heart disease, Nusreen has been undergoing treatment at the AIIMS for the past 13 years. She now needs to be operated upon immediately and has death looming large over her head. "The doctors at AIIMS, Delhi have told me that my heart-valves have shrunk and can only be now put right with the help of surgery," Nusreen told Gaon Connection.

Belonging to a poor family Nusreen doesn't have the kind of money needed for the treatment in private hospitals.

Nusreen's husband Mohammd Shehzaad, 33, lamented, "With great hopes, we had approached AIIMS for the treatment. In 2015, a doctor from AIIMS had told that my wife needs to be operated upon and that the cost of it will be around Rs 70,000. For a labourer like me, it was an inconceivable amount, but I did not give up and toiled hard for four years to arrange the said sum," informed Shehzaad.

"When I went to the doctor with the money, we were referred from the OPD to the surgery department. When we approached the surgeon, he spoke of the waiting-list and even wrote on the prescription advising us to seek certain other hospitals in Delhi where such surgery was possible," he added.

When contacted for a comment, the PRO at AIIMS asked us to write an e-mail to them. The PRO didn't reply to our mails till the time the story was published.

In 2017-18, the hospital operated upon 19,3034 of its patients. If we calculate a day's average, we'd find that 528 patients were operated upon at the hospital daily. These were both major and minor surgeries.

About the severity of the disease and its treatment, Dr Bhuvan Chand Tiwari, a heart specialist at Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Medical Institute, said: "One cannot say anything with certainty in cases such as this. Despite the possibility of her survival on medication, surgery should be done as soon as possible to stop her state from deteriorating any further. This is a complex ailment that can only be put right by surgery."

The AIIMS administration did not respond to any query on the matter although every prescription chit of AIIMS bears the request for patients' feedback to improve its services.

The cost of treatment and surgery in AIIMS is quite lower than other government hospitals. The total cost of bypass surgery in AIIMS is Rs 60,000 whereas in private hospitals it exceeds Rs 2 lakh. The hospital charges about Rs 15,000 for spine surgery whereas private hospitals take away up to a lakh.

Commenting upon the wait till 2025 for surgery, Indian Medical Association's head Dr Shantanu Sen said over phone: "A patient must get better treatment in any circumstance. A waiting period of a few days or even a few months is acceptable, but six months is certainly not. The doctor suggesting such a long wait is at fault and so should be prosecuted."

A member of the committee aiding economically backward people in Delhi, Ashok Agarwal admitted, "Nusreen's case is in my knowledge and I have mentioned to the management about it." He added: "The state of government hospitals is deplorable. They claim to provide the best health services despite handing over a six-year waiting chit even to critical surgery cases. No one knows how Nusreen would fare by the time this wait gets over."

"God must not inflict poor with any disease. My wife's ailment has left us poorer. I am tired of visiting various hospitals endlessly. I would have saved my wife from death by having her treated in a private hospital if only I had money."

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