Srinagar: Two years have elapsed since the Orthopantomogram (OPG) machine at the Srinagar Government Dental College and Hospital (GDC) went defunct, and the institution is yet to re-install a replacement. The consequences, predictably, are borne by patients forced to spend huge amounts on OPG x-rays in private clinics.
GDC’s OPG machine – used to reveal jawbone problems and to diagnose possible problems with all teeth simultaneously – was badly hit by the devastating flood of September 2014.
An OPG is a panoramic or wide-view x-ray of the lower face which displays all the teeth of the upper and lower jaw on a single film. It demonstrates the number, position and growth of the teeth, including those in which problems have not yet surfaced or erupted. It is different from the small, close-up x-rays dentists take of individual teeth.
The hospital authorities have failed to procure machines for the betterment of the patients. The patients are suffering like anything and have to go to the market for OPG x-rays that could have been done at the GDC Srinagar.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the press, an official at the hospital said, “Near-about 60 OPG X-Rays are needed to be carried out in a day. Since the OPG machine is lying defunct, the patients have to move outside for carrying out the x-rays. In the market, the x-rays cost them Rs. 700-900, while the same could have been done at a much cheaper rate at the hospital, where all dental facilities should have been available to start with.
“We have made requests to high-ups many times, and they have assured us they would look into the matter, but in on-ground reality, nothing has been done. Now they have put the defunct OPG machine in the store room,” the official added.
Mohammad Shafi, a resident of Rainwari who was suffering from serious gum problems and went to GDC for treatment, relates being told by a dentist to get an x-ray. “I went to a private lab for the OPG x-ray, and they charged me Rs 900, which I can’t afford. If I could afford that amount, I would have preferred to go to a private clinic.”
“In our full course of BDS (Bachelor of Dental Sciences), we cannot see an OPG machine, how it functions or what the different is between normal x-ray machine s and this one. We only know theory part of this machine,” said a group of students.
Despite many attempts, Principal /Dean, GDC, Srinagar Prof. Reyaz Farooq was not available for comment.