When one of the biggest government-operated hospitals runs out of medicine for the one million patients who visit daily, it is difficult to not be a little concerned.
The Jinnah Post Medical Centre (JPMC) in Karachi faces a host of problems at such a large scale and frequency that the dismal state of healthcare has ceased to be ‘news’ for the general public.
But in the midst of these challenges, there exist many helping hands who have been pumping money and other resources into the hospital to keep it functioning.
These largely hidden faces are the soul of JPMC — men and women who try to address the smallest, most basic needs, all the way to those who endeavour to take the hospital to new heights in the field of medicine and patient care.
Whether the donations are made out of goodwill or given out of gratitude after successful treatment, the donors breathe life into the institute.
A steady stream of help
It is often claimed that Pakistan is one of the most generous nations when it comes to donations. Seemin Jamali, Head of the Emergency department at JPMC, believes this is indeed not an exaggeration.
“A young man came to us requesting to treat his ailing father inside the ambulance who was in extreme pain. Carrying him inside the hospital would have added to his agony so we sent a doctor to treat him in the ambulance only,” says Dr Seemin Jamali, smiling as she recounts the memory of what happened later.
“The next day that young lad donated 20,000 drips to the emergency ward only for this small favour.”
Dr Seemin says this is but one of countless instances where patients have donated generously after getting treated at the hospital. It is hard to keep track of this generosity; the names and faces are forgotten with time but the unending help is a reminder that something is being done right, she says.
“There are people who come back to help the hospital in some way or the other. Two A’level students died in a car crash last year — the girl was brought dead to the hospital but the boy was in a critical condition. We did what we could to save him but he too succumbed to his wounds. This year, his mother came to the hospital during the heat wave and contributed wheelchairs for the patients and thanked us for taking care of her boy while he was admitted,” says Dr Seemin.