Inadequate services of NEIGRIHMS Hospital


Is NEIGRIHMS not lauded as the AIIMS of the Northeast India? Is it not a ray of hope for the
nearly 4 million people in Meghalaya? The relatives of the sick, even from Assam, Manipur, Mizoram,
Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh, are seen standing in the long queues in this hospital. They all expect
the healing touch of proficient doctors and warmth of administrative management.

However, beneath the impressive façade of the hospital lies a sickening reality. While there are many
departments that have virtually left innumerable citizens in the lurch, today I will focus on the
nephrology department. 

The inadequate dialysis unit in NEIGRIHMS has virtually plunged many into despair. Patients with
critical kidney issues coming from far-flung areas of the Northeast have reportedly been greeted with
the cold shoulder of the unavailability of the dialysis service. “No slots for a week,” the patients told on
the face. Is it not a heartless retort?

Just imagine how you would feel if you were a patient with an advanced stage of kidney failure
waiting for a long time for dialysis. One distressed patient burst in anger: “A nurse in the department
told us to go to SUPER CARE for the job. It deeply offended us because private hospitals in the town,
including Guwahati, have literally already robbed us of whatever money we had.”

In another instance, one family with the patient, after the extensive treatment at CMC Vellore, of Tamil
Nadu reached Shillong. As the dialysis was due, without going home, the relatives had taken the patient
directly to NEIGRIHMS.

They were told no slots were available. Having no option, they humbly requested the slot for the next day. To their disappointment, the staff said that slot is not available until the 4th day. When the relatives requested to book for the fifth day, they were again told to come and check whether the slot would be available on that day. Out of desperation, when the relative sought the appointment on the fifth day, they were informed that all slots were full. This is just one example I am citing here.

One cannot help but wonder how on earth the hospital held as the AIIMS of the Northeast India. Is
management not aware that delaying dialysis may lead to severe health complications affecting vital
organs like the heart, lungs, and nervous system and accumulation of toxins? Is it not a matter of life
and death? The increasing number of kidney patients, contrasted with the limited dialysis capacity,
paints a grim picture of neglect and utter failure at NEIGRIHMS.

Why hasn’t it dawned on the management yet that “expanding” the dialysis facility is long overdue,
given the number of patients relying on the hospital of national repute?  This stagnation in service gives rise to an unnerving question: are the authorities waiting for a “crisis to turn into a catastrophe”? Yes,
countless families have long been experiencing catastrophes and nightmares! But who will bother to
find out how?

Who will express genuine words of compassion to the aggrieved families who are in the
morass of poverty? Who will come forward to put pressure on the government to “overhaul the
hospital” and its management? I am too worried. Oh, dear friends, take a breath and think that this
continuous silence might take away your life and take away my life! 

An India-based writer and researcher, Salil Gewali is best known for his research-based work entitled ‘Great Minds on India’ that has earned worldwide appreciation. Translated into thirteen languages, his book has been prefaced by a NASA chief scientist – Dr. Kamlesh Lulla of Houston, USA. Gewali is also
a member of the International Human Rights Commission, Zürich, Switzerland.

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