AIIMS Trauma Centre Plagued by Staff Crunch
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29 March 2010
Durgesh Nandan Jha
New Delhi, India
It took six–yearold Kulwant, an accident victim waiting to be treated at AIIMS Trauma Centre, longer to get a simple X–ray done here than it did to transport him from Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh, to the trauma centre. In all, it took four hours and thirty minutes for the child to get a simple Xray done, and an equally long time to get a CT scan, following which doctors were able to assess his condition and begin treating him.
The delay in imaging, which doctors claim has proven fatal many times, is normal here because there is an acute shortage of radiographers at the trauma centre. Of the 32 available posts, 21 are vacant. On the weekends, when the inflow of trauma patients is highest, there is only one technician at the centre.
“I have been waiting for more than four hours to get my son’s X–ray done. But there is no radiographer,” said Kulwant’s mother Santosh Devi, who had brought her child to the centre on Saturday. Devi said the child had fallen from a swing and had severely damaged his liver. She added, “He is very serious. Doctors in Rishikesh, where we live, referred him to a Moradabad–based medical college and hospital, which again referred us to AIIMS Trauma Centre. It is our last hope.” Several other patients, mostly accident victims, complained of the same problem, they were being made to wait because of the shortage of radiographers.
Doctors accepted there was a shortage. “There is a shortage. We have written to the AIIMS director several times but nothing has been done,” said a senior doctor, who did not wish to be named. AIIMS director Dr R C Deka said the Trauma Centre is not yet fully operational. “Recruitment will take time,” said Deka.
Gullu (25) was brought in by his relative Mohan Prajapati for an X–ray and CT scan at about 2pm. “It is 5pm now and the radiographer is yet to come. Even when he does, he will first do the X–rays of more than 20 patients waiting here and then do our CT scan. Gullu will therefore be waiting for imaging for more than seven–eight hours,” Prajapati said.