India's premier hospital AIIMS on Wednesday admitted that its 'pulse dye laser' machine, needed for skin treatment, has been out of order for several months, after the Delhi High Court castigated it following a complaint that a patient was not getting treated for a serious ailment.
Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva was told by the counsel for All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) that they have started repairing the machine which would be functional soon.
"The concerned company has been consulted to do the repair work. We are also in process of purchasing new machines," the counsel for AIIMS submitted.
Taking note of this, the court asked the institute to complete the process in four weeks and fixed the matter for February 27, by when the institute would have to file a status report on the matter.
On January 16, Justice Sachdeva had sternly told AIIMS "If you have bought a machine, you should maintain it. If the AIIMS does not have funds, which I don't think is the case, then the government should pay for its repairs."
Maintaining that the machine has not been working for over 17 months, advocate Ashok Aggarwal, appearing for petitioner Mohammad Quayamuddin, had then said his client had to undergo 10 sessions of treatment, but only one was done in May 2015 as the machine, costing Rs 50 lakh, was out of order.
In response, the court had said "So what? AIIMS has machines worth crores. This is only Rs 50 lakh."
Quayamuddin, a 23-year-old engineering student, has been unable to get treatment since May 2015 for his skin ailment – port wine stain, as the machine has not been working.
In his plea, Quayamuddin has said that no public-funded hospitals in Delhi, barring AIIMS, has the pulse dye laser machine. And since it has been non-functional, not only he himself but several other patients were also suffering.
He has said that if his ailment is left untreated it can lead to various health complications like bleeding, visual impairments, seizures, developmental delays, glaucoma, paralysis, migraines, tissue outgrowth and endocrine issues.
He has contended that by delaying his treatment, AIIMS was unduly exposing him to such side effects.