GMC’s nephrology department head is on a two-year leave; no specialists to handle dialysis. SHOAIB SHAIKH visits the hospital to get details
The nephrology department of the Goa Medical College and Hospital is in dire state as the department does not have a head for the department. In addition, it does not even have a junior nephrologist.
While the state run hospital is the only authorised facility in Goa to carry out the procedures of kidney transplant, in the absence of a specialist, the superspeciality department, during the last six months, not a single transplant has been carried out.
An estimated 1000 patients undergo dialysis in the state, of which the government run hospitals receive the maximum load. However, all the hospitals, including the district hospitals and the sub-district hospital in Ponda are lacking the facilities for the patients to undergo dialysis process.
Acknowledging the issue, Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said that the department is in favour of outsourcing the facilities.
“Ponda and Mapusa have been outsourced for dialysis and a doctor from Mumbai has been selected and I think we should go ahead with it. However, I don't know why it has not happened”, he stated.
Head of Department for Nephrology, Dr Jayaprakash Tiwari is on two-year leave since the last four months and the department is being handled by the Department of Medicine.
Speaking to Herald, GMC Dean Dr Pradeep Naik, said “two consultant doctors have been appointed by the hospital.” However, hospitals sources informed that the doctors are yet to take charge and one consultant doctor would be joining after the vacation period is over.
He, however, could not provide further details on the functioning of the department.
Sanjay Naik, Coordinator of Goa Renal Support Association, informed that the patients visiting GMC are facing hardships in absence of specialists. He said “All medicine doctors are handling the patients. You need an expert even for dialysis. Everyday people coming to GMC are suffering severely in the absence of specialist doctors.”
He further said that the patients coming from the remote areas who come to the GMC spend the whole day and at times the dialysis gets done the next day.
Stating that a number of patients have been waiting to undergo kidney transplant, Sanjay said “We have to call doctors from other locations and therefore it has become difficult for the patients to have a kidney transplant.”
An estimated 200 patients in the state are awaiting a kidney transplant, some of whom still undergo sufferings and pain despite having donors for themselves.
The number of patients suffering due to kidney ailments is on the rise in the state. Kidney transplants need permissions to be sought from the government, which requires an in-house doctor who would recommend the transplant after the initials investigations.
The Head of Department needs to seek permission from the Directorate of Health Service, the appellate authority for granting recognition for conducting the transplant and is followed by permission from the state government.
Thus, despite being the only authorised facility in the state for kidney transplants, in the last five years only 14 such surgeries have been conducted leaving hundreds of patients suffering. The patients cannot even go private hospitals in absence of authorized private hospitals to conduct the organ transplants.
However, several patients who have managed to get a donor, have taken the route to superspeciality hospitals outside the state in places like Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Belgaum.
With the empanelment of specific hospitals under the Deen Dayal Swasthya Seva Yojana (DDSSY) and the medical insurance scheme still continuing the patients have been able to take some benefits.
Doctors are of the opinion that the chances of living for over five years by undergoing dialysis process is only 30 per cent while with kidney transplant the chances increase by up to 75-80 per cent.