Full-time nephrologist absent in Cochin Medical College at Kalamassery; five dialysis units rested for lack of staff

With no one to man the dialysis units at the Cochin Medical College in Kalamassery, starting free or subsidised dialysis seems to be a distant possibility.

The Rs. 3 lakh promised by the district administration to solve the problems of the Cochin Medical College will not be any panacea to the college’s woes. What it needs is more staff, trained personnel for key procedures, especially dialysis technicians.

There is a dearth of technicians to handle dialysis, and the medical college needs to get at least one qualified technician. The only one trained technician is on long leave.

The medical college has five dialysis units and only one has been put to use in the past, mostly because of lack of staff.

Medical director Raju Antony said they need technicians qualified in dialysis techniques to begin dialysis. Even when there are nephrologists around, dialysis is supervised by the technicians with guidance from nephrologists. In the absence of a full-time nephrologist, as in the case of CMC, the role of dialysis technicians becomes important.

“There are assistant professors who would supervise dialysis,” said Dr. Antony. However, in the surcharged atmosphere like that of the medical college, where trouble sprouts at the drop of a hat, many doctors in the college are reluctant to take on more responsibility for which they might be held responsible if something goes wrong, said one of the professors in the college.

Besides, nurses trained in the dialysis techniques are a must. While CMC has a few trained nurses the college is unable to withdraw them from other duties because of shortage of nurses.

The college, which faces severe staff shortage in most departments, is awaiting the nod by the Cooperative Academy of Profession Education for appointment staff. Dr. Antony is expecting some of the appointments to come through in the coming weeks. Dr. Antony said the college would consider free and subsidised dialysis once they find supporters to finance the programme.

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