‘Illegal’ pathology labs mushroom in Bathinda

‘Illegal’ pathology labs mushroom in Bathinda

Sameer Singh

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 31

Amid the second wave of the pandemic which has claimed many lives, illegal pathology labs have started mushrooming in Bathinda district.

With barely any check by the authorities concerned, illegal laboratories with unqualified staff are being set up in the city. Notably, a list of 50 illegal labs operating in Bathinda was given to the district Health Department by the Association of Pathologists and Microbiologists three years ago but the former allegedly did not initiate any action against these labs. The association representatives said inaction on the part of authorities led to opening up of several illegal labs.

Moreover, with barely any check, these labs continue to fleece patients by charging them exorbitantly. A number of private pathology labs have come up near Civil Hospital, Mall Road, Amrik Singh Road, GT Road, Bibi Wala Road, Parasram Nagar, Multania Road and Partap Nagar.

A senior member of the association said, “Since there is no proper licensing or regulation mechanism, not only there has been a substantial increase in number of illegal labs but they have also been minting money by charging arbitrarily amid the pandemic. The owners do not have the required degrees and majority of them just work for four to six months at a private lab and then start their own lab later.”

Apart from Covid, cases of malaria and dengue have also started surfacing and a number of suspected patients are getting done medical tests from these private labs. Moreover, many labs have not displayed the rate list as instructed by the government. A renowned pathologist in the city said, “Accurate diagnosis of any disease is the first and most important step before treatment can be started but unqualified staff and inadequate medical equipment can result in wrong diagnosis, which may lead to wrong treatment. With illegal labs flourishing in the district, proper treatment of patients is not possible. In diagnostics, a person must have a degree in MLT or MD pathology, bio-chemistry or microbiology to run a pathology lab.”

Dr Tejwant Singh Dhillon, Civil Surgeon, Bathinda, said, “We have been conducting random checks at private labs.” 

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