Agonising wait for MRI patients in Mumbai's civic-run hospitals

The MRI department of Nair Hospital gets 50-60 patients every day, who request for the earliest possible appointments for faster diagnosis and treatment. However, the hospital is able to perform only 12-15 MRIs daily

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Tuesday, August 30, 2022, 12:14 PM IST
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Mumbai: The queues of patients requiring MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans at civic-run hospitals are getting longer. Some of them may even have to wait for up to three months or get referred to one of the peripheral hospitals, thanks to the overburdened radiology departments and very few machines.

While King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital in Parel fares slightly better, with one-month appointments, patients at Sion Hospital, BYL Nair Hospital and Sir JJ Hospitals may have to wait for really long, with anonymous sources pinning them at close to a year.

The MRI department of Nair Hospital gets 50-60 patients every day, who request for the earliest possible appointments for faster diagnosis and treatment. However, the hospital is able to perform only 12-15 MRIs daily.

Doctors said they have only one machine and are forced to work in a single shift.

As per an official, “All municipal hospitals, including Nair, have a huge workload. The lone MRI machine runs 24 hours a day. The MRI and CT scanning machines in civic-run hospitals are facing excessive load due to a high number of patients. This has led to delayed appointments, sometimes up to over one or two years.”

The official said, for patients who want their MRI done on an urgent basis, the hospital has posted contact numbers and other details of MRI departments from four peripheral hospitals, where patients can get the investigations done at civic body rates.

One recent case was Rajesh Chavan (name changed), a farmer, who came to Nair hospital from Ratnagiri, but had to discontinue his treatment and return home.

“My brother has constant pain in his leg. Doctors from the outpatient department (OPD) of Nair Hospital suggested we get an MRI scan done but the wait was long. There was no way he could wait for that long, so he returned,” said Rajesh’s brother Piyush.

A resident doctor said, “We feel bad telling patients to come after 15-16 months, but there is no other way out. One MRI scan costs between Rs 8,000 and Rs 15,000 at private centres, but we do it for Rs 2,500. We understand that the patients are helpless. If they can’t afford it, we give them a further discount or do it for free.”

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