AIIMS in Delhi crowded; Patients wait endlessly

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Long wait for cure -II

By Alka Jain

New Delhi, September 15: Kiran Gupta left everything to the almighty, losing faith in doctors, after the never-ending queue at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi forced her to settle down in the national capital along with her family.

Her husband had requested employer for help in wife’s treatment, who was suffering from severe heart disease.

However, every day he landed amidst the sea of attendants with sullen faces lining up at the windows as early as 2 am and sleeping on the pavements.

Kiran, hailing from Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, started visiting AIIMS Delhi in 2016 for the blockage in the veins of her heart. The surgery was finally done in 2021.

Despite setting up of an AIIMS in Gorakhpur in UP, Kiran Gupta preferred to wait for years to get treated for her critical ailment in Delhi.

She believed that AIIMS Delhi can provide her with the best treatment as it is the oldest medical institute run by the government, while the similar hospital in Gorakhpur only has buildings, without facilities.

“I am tired of visiting here again and again. I came here in 2016 for the treatment of my heart and I was finally operated on in 2021. And today, I am again facing the same health issues. I used to live in Ayodhya, but we have shifted here, especially for the treatment. It is difficult to survive in a new city. My husband even has lost his job in the Covid-19 pandemic,” Kiran Gupta explained.

When asked about AIIMS Gorakhpur, she said that her relatives denied such advanced treatment at this hospital in UP, because it has a limited number of testing machines and other facilities. Kiran said that not only people, but doctors in other states also have blind faith in AIIMS Delhi.

“I even visited Lari Cardiology Centre, a government hospital in Lucknow. But they were demanding about Rs 3 lakhs for the treatment of a blockage in the heart. But we were not charged anything in Delhi,” she added.

Lucky Sharma was, however, overjoyed after he managed to get an appointment at India’s premier medical institution. He came from Patna, Bihar.

He was dismayed when doctors told him to wait for 11 years for his father’s treatment. But his disappointment turned into outrage, leading to a conflict with the management and health experts here. He finally overcame all the obstacles.

“My father was suffering from cancer. He was operated in 2017. When I came here for his treatment in 2017, they had given me an appointment for 2028. I could not wait for 11 years to get him treated for cancer. I got into serious arguments with the management and health experts here, then they performed the surgery in the same year. However, I must say that the doctors are well experienced here. My father is completely fine now. We just come here for regular checkups,” said Sharma.

He stated that AIIMS Patna looks like the institution in the national capital, but the management, doctors, and facilities are completely opposite.

“Delhi AIIMS has good facilities, but in Patna it has only freshers, and no experienced doctors. There is a very less number of machines and beds. People do not want to go there, that’s why they only come here for the good treatment despite long-waiting queues,” Sharma said.

Currently, there are 19 AIIMS operational in India, of which Delhi AIIMS is the forerunner institute, and five more are expected to become operational by 2025. The AIIMS have so far been set up in Bhubaneshwar, Jodhpur, Patna, Raipur, Rishikesh, Bhopal, and Kalyani. (Concluded)

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