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Times Of India.
06 July 2012

Pune: Poor people who have been advised heart surgeries have been waiting for their turn at the Sassoon general hospital for almost two months now. Reason: The state–run hospital does not have the required funds and skilled staff.

Even as the poor patients suffer, hospital authorities said on Thursday that surgeries would start within a week. "The money allotted under the state’s Jeevandayi scheme for performing heart surgeries on poor people was delayed. Besides, the work contract of a cardiac surgeon had come to an end. Both the problems have now been resolved. All heart surgeries will begin at the hospital within a week," said one of hospital’s administrators on the condition of anonymity.

At Sassoon, the cost of cardiac surgeries ranges from Rs 70,000 to Rs 1.35 lakh, which would cost anything between Rs 1.5 lakh and Rs 4 lakh at private hospitals. Besides, 50% of the patients here are beneficiaries of the Jeevandayi scheme, meant for people from below poverty line category.

A high number of poor patients come to the hospital’s cardiovascular and thoracic surgery unit for treatment of rheumatic valvular disease. They are often admitted in an advanced stage with irregular heart beats. Nearly 50% of the operations at the hospital are performed to correct valvular heart diseases.

Besides, Sassoon is the preferred place for poor patients needing angioplasty, a life–saving medical procedure to improve flow of blood to the heart. On an average, 15–20 angioplasties are performed here every month under the Jeevandayi scheme.

Amedical social worker admitted that the poor patients have been at the receiving end of this impasse.

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