Wheelchair theft at hospitals – a nuisance


Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) in Islamabad has been experiencing frequent tussles between the patients and hospital managers, over the shortage or non-availability of wheelchairs at the hospital. According to a recent media report,This shortage is often caused by some dishonest patients or their unethical families who tend to take away the wheelchairs and other items, which are provided for patients visiting or admitted in the institution.

Most of the good hospitals in Pakistan have a clear policy for providing stretchers and wheelchairs at the doorstep of the emergency department and wards. However, many of these facilities are stolen, broken or mishandled by some immoral patients, who cause serious inconvenience and suffering for the needy patients.

An official of PIMS stated; “Just four months ago, Pakistan Baitul Maal donated 30 wheelchairs to PIMS. Thus, there was a total of 65 wheelchairs in the hospital. However, within four months, that number decreased to 20 because numerous patients did not return the wheelchairs they used during the hospital visit.

The hospital even introduced a policy to retain the original CNIC of the patient using a wheelchair. But despite this measure, 19 people took away the wheelchair and never came back to claim their original CNICs.

Recently a the emergency department at PIMS was extended and renovated, but within 24 hours some patients stole several pillows, two couches and many other valuable items from the department. Recently there was a 30% reduction in the hospital’s budget, whereby the hospital is now operating without hiring security guards services. This might be another reason for the frequent stealth of valuable items from the hospital.

These notorious habits of stealing these public service items from hospitals and other institutions reflect a cheap and criminal mindset prevailing in the country, which needs to be controlled. As Pakistanis, we must act more conscientiously and avail these healthcare facilities with fairness and honesty.

April 9, 2014

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