The prayers of the patients at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) – the largest government hospital in the federal capital – were finally answered Thursday with the installation of a brand-new Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine, a service which remained unavailable at the medical facility for about two years.
Due to the malfunctioning of the previous machine, scores of patients had to face difficulties in getting the MRI – a non-invasive medical imaging test that produces detailed images of almost every internal structure in the human body, including the organs, bones, muscles and blood vessels.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Dr Ayesha Esani, Head of the Pims Radiology Department, said: “With the installation of the new machine, the facility will now be available free-of-cost to poor patients while others will also be able to avail the MRI services on subsidised rates.”
Previously, patients had to spend thousands of rupees on MRI testing from private laboratories since the equipment at Pims had been inoperable for the past two years and there were no digital imaging facilities available. The MRI plays a significant role in the diagnosis of several medical conditions.
Dr Esani said the new machine, which has been sourced from Germany, will immediately begin operations. “Funds from Zakat and Baitul Mal would be utilised to provide free MRI testing service to the impoverished patients. Similarly, patients who are admitted to the hospital under the Sehat Sahulat Programme as well as those brought in the emergency will also receive free tests,” she explained.
“The entitled patients will be charged according to their entitlements,” she said and added that the MRI testing for the rest of the patients will be conducted at discounted rates.
She hoped that a Japanese MRI machine would also arrive soon. “It will be installed at the MCH and will benefit the patients with breast cancer,” she said. “It will also help alleviate the burden of patients in the hospital and provide women and children access to better medical services,” she added.
On the other hand, Pims Executive Director Dr Imran Sikandar said: “The equipment has just been installed and it will take another four to six weeks for it to perform the first test.
“The deadline of September 6 was given to the company for conducting the first test of the patient; however, it was not met,” he said. “We are issuing a show cause notice to the company for not completing the project within the stipulated period,” he added.
Responding to a query, Dr Sikandar said: “Although a meeting with the company was held, no suitable response was received.” He insisted that the first MRI test was scheduled to take place on September 6.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 8th2023.