GUWAHATI, March 9 – Lax monitoring, coupled with unscrupulous business motive, is putting at risk lives of patients across the State. A worrying number of pathology labs in the State are below the radar of monitoring authorities, which translates into laboratory reports which are not beyond reproach.
According to sufferers, many of the laboratories carrying out pathology tests charge according to their whims and fancies, and customers have no way to protest their moves. “Paying Rs 400-500 has become a norm and some of the tests can cost you thousands of rupees or more. Similar tests in government hospitals can be done at a fraction of the cost,” complained Nripen Chandra Das, a resident of Guwahati.
In the absence of proper monitoring, some pathology laboratories in Guwahati and other cities have also employed technicians with little or no previous experience. These personnel have been engaged in carrying out tests which require high levels of expertise.
According to an NGO based in Kokrajhar which carried out a survey in Guwahati, Bongaigaon and Nagaon, many of the laboratory owners have indulged in ‘collusive practices’ with doctors. Its findings suggest that laboratory owners have ties with doctors who recommend cases to them for pecuniary benefits. Ultimately, the cost is passed on to consumers without their awareness.
Doctors who are privy to the working of pathology laboratories agree that charges for services can be arbitrary, and at times the people behind the equipment are not fully trained.
“The ideal situation would have meant trained people using sophisticated equipment, but that is not considered economical by owners,” said a retired professor of Gauhati Medical College Hospital.