Visit to an Island of Excellence in Civil Hospital Karachi

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Visit to an Island of Excellence
in Civil Hospital Karachi

KARACHI: Health and Education has always remained a very low priority with our successive governments both at Federal and Provincial level. The scarce resources, funding made available for health unfortunately is either misused or goes in corruption. Even if the available finances are utilized judiciously it can bring a visible change in the present state of affairs but it does not happen due to various reasons. Hence, it is the healthcare professionals at public healthcare facilities who have to face the wrath of the patients, a vast majority of whom cannot afford private health care. Despite this, public healthcare facilities remain the final ray of hope of millions of poor, non-affording patients who get well after being treated at these hospitals but these positive aspects of healthcare professionals service with devotion and dedication are seldom highlighted by the print and electronic media which is ever ready to malign the doctor’s community.
Physicians and Surgeons working in public hospitals in general and teaching hospitals, tertiary healthcare facilities in particular are most often faced with a dilemma while managing the ever increasing burden of patients. There are some who are most often seen asking the pharmaceutical trade and industry to sponsor their trips overseas, provide expensive gifts for their personal use but there are others who believe that God almighty has given them enough and they use these opportunities to build, upgrade their wards, improve the available treatment and teaching facilities in their units utilizing the help and assistance from the Pharma trade and industry and also generate funds through Zakat and from philanthropists. Those who have established their credibility are seen never short of funds for their patients and there are a large number of such physicians and surgeons in the country who have improved, expanded and upgraded their wards, units through donations and funds generated from other means. Not only that, they also ensure judicious use of the public funding.
Civil Hospital Karachi affiliated with Dow University of Health Sciences is one of the busiest public healthcare facility in the province of Sindh and there are quite a few Islands of excellence located at this campus, thanks to the selfless, devotion and dedication of the in charge of such units. Prof. Khalid Mahmood, Prof. of Medicine at DUHS is one such individual who is loved by his students and worshipped by his patients. A visit to this ward last week was a fascinating experience. One is impressed with the neat and clean ward and walking through the Civil Hospital Karachi as soon as one enters this ward, it is a new world.
One of the most important things which struck me the most was the quotations from Avicenna, Sir William Osler and others tastefully decorating the corridors in the ward displayed on the walls. Every doctor, nurse or paramedic walking through the corridors have a chance of looking at these quotations which serves as constant teaching to them what they are supposed to do while treating the patients.
A few quotations from Sir William Osler:
“Good Physicians treat the disease; the Great Physicians treat the patient who has the Disease”. “It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has”.
Let me share with you some other quotations decorating the walls in the corridor of this medical Ward:
“The greatest mistake in the treatment of disease is that there are physicians for the body and physicians for the soul although the two cannot be separated”- Plato.
“There are no incurable diseases, only the lack of will. There are no worthless herbs- only the lack of knowledge”-Avicenna.
“A sigh of relief by the patient is my utmost reward”-Anonymous
“Nothing can be so satisfying than saving life of a Patient”.
“An ignorant doctor is the aid-de-Camp of Death”- Avicenna
“Superior Doctors prevent sickness, the mediocre doctors attend impending sickness, the inferior doctor treats actual sickness”. Chinese proverb.
The above quotations contain lot of useful messages and they are bound to get imprint on the minds of the staff in the ward who will look at them again and again every day. Hence, there could be no better education for them and it goes without saying that a vast majority of them will be moved and practice ethical medicine with sincerity to relieve the sufferings of the ailing humanity.
This 50-Bed Ward of the Medical Unit has a six bed High Dependency Unit fully air-conditioned with monitoring facilities again established by Prof.Khalid Mahmood through donations. The more serious patients, he said, are shifted or referred to the newly set up Medical Intensive Care Unit at CHK. There are eighteen beds in Male and Female Ward. In addition to that, there are six beds in another room which are used for patients suffering from some serious infectious disease or Dengue Fever when this epidemic afflicts the patients. Prof. Saeed Qureshi, Medical Supdt. of Civil hospital Karachi, Prof. Khalid Mahmood said, is always very kind and has never refused us whenever we have asked for any help and assistance to improve the services. (Prof. Saeed Qureshi himself, it may be mentioned here has renovated, upgraded and improved his surgical ward which offers state of the art teaching training and patient care facilities particularly in the field of gastroenterology, through his efforts and donations.) A fully equipped air-conditioned Seminar Room with Multimedia, Overhead Projector facilities is used for Journal Club Meetings, Case Presentations, Clinico Pathological Conferences and such academic activities are an integral part of teaching and training in the unit. In addition facilities of endoscopy, ultrasound, non-invasive ventilators are also available in the Ward. Five to six cases are managed in the weekly endoscopy clinic in this ward. Patients admitted to the ward get all the sophisticated tests, investigations free of cost. Similarly the patients get all the required drugs and medicines irrespective of their cost all arranged by the Ward through donations which is a great sigh of relief for the poor, non-affording patients.
As regards patient work load, liver disease is quite common. Many patients come with diabetes, hypertension, serious infectious diseases, all kinds of Tuberculosis and even malaria is quite rampant. These patients do get treated but when they go back to the community, their living conditions are such that they get infected again. It is unfortunate that many areas in Sindh are still without supply of pure drinking water. When they are asked to boil the water before using it, some say that they fetch water from long distances and our problems are not known to the rulers. Dengue Fever and Hepatitis are other dreaded diseases which have become an epidemic. Malignancy is on the increase due to consumption of adulterated food. Use of poor quality of drugs provided through government programmes like Hepatitis Control has resulted in non-responders. Authorities have miserably failed to initiate and run an effective preventive healthcare programme while curative services are quite expensive which a vast majority of the population cannot afford.
Prof. Khalid Mahmood himself has keen interest in academics who has forty five research publications to his credit published in peer reviewed local and international journals. Not only that he has so far authored three books i.e. Atlas of Diagnostic Radiology, Medical Disorders in Pregnancy besides a booklet published for Civil Hospital Karachi on Antibiotic guidelines. To be a Physician, Surgeon and also a medical teacher is a blessing and apart from earning money, one gets prayers of the patients and gratitude from the students which money cannot buy. This is something which only a few can understand.

Note: We intend to have a series of such features on facilities available in public healthcare facilities in the days to come.