Arthritis clinic at Baha hospital closed for lack of consultants

120 patients referred to public hospitals in other regions

Majed Shatti

Saudi Gazette Report

The absence of a rheumatoid arthritis consultant has thrown work at King Fahd Hospital in Al-Baha into disarray with over 120 patients having to be referred to other public hospital across the country, Al-Madina Arabic daily reported.

The angry patients called upon the authorities to take action and recruit qualified rheumatoid arthritis consultants, whether Saudi or non-Saudi, to work in the hospital.

Muhammad Al-Ghamdi, whose wife suffers from this chronic disorder, said the arthritis clinic at the hospital remained closed since last Ramadan because of the non-availability of consultants and specialists.

Most of them resigned and left the hospital, Al-Ghamdi said, adding that a physician had been manning the clinic ever since, forcing him take his wife for regular checkups to a hospital outside the region.

“Arthritis treatment and medications are expensive and cannot be found easily. Patients here are in dire need of these medications and hope that they will be made available in public hospitals in Al-Baha,” Al-Ghamdi said.

Al-Baha Health Affairs spokesman Majed Shatti said the hospital management assigned a highly-experienced physician to run the rheumatoid arthritis clinic after the resignation of the consultant doctor.

“The hospital management has signed a contract with a rheumatoid arthritis specialist who will be available soon to run the clinic and see patients,” he added.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder resulting in swollen and painful joints and in some cases other parts of the body such as eyes, lungs, heart and veins. Although treatment and medications have seen huge development, the chances of a patient with this disorder developing disability are still high. Women are more prone to the disorder than men, the risks are especially high in the 40-60 age group. Smoking, obesity and environmental pollution can increase the chances of developing the disorder among both men and women.