The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sent a notice to the Health Ministry and Delhi government over reports that a city-run hospital does not have a functional MRI machine since February 2016.
The Delhi government's G B Pant Hospital is a referral centre for neurology, neurosurgery, gastroenterology, gastrointestinal surgery and psychiatry, for which MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a crucial test for diagnosis and timely treatment.
The panel has observed that the contents of the news report, if true, raise a serious issue of violation of the right to life and health of the people.
Accordingly, it has issued a notice to the Delhi chief secretary and the secretary of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, seeking reports on it within four weeks.
The report sought by the NHRC would include the present status of the basic facilities including MRI, CT scan, X-ray and pathology tests at government-run hospitals as well as steps taken to procure the new machines for the patients, without any further delay.
"Reportedly, a doctor has said that around 90 per cent of the patients in the neurology and neurosurgery in OPD require MRI tests to be done. He further added that post-operative MRI is needed in 20 per cent of neurosurgery cases to assess the outcome of surgery such as resection of a tumour," it said.
In these cases, either a CT scan is done or one has to wait for the patient to be stable enough to be sent to LNJP Hospital for the test.
The GB Pant Hospital in central Delhi may be reportedly one of Delhi's biggest super-specialty medical institutions, but it "shockingly hasn't had a functional MRI machine since February 2016," the NHRC said.
"It has been sending patients, even those admitted, requiring emergency scans to nearby LNJP Hospital, while asking the rest to get them done in government-empanelled private diagnostic centres," the statement said.
(With inputs from agencies.)