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April 25, 2019

Process to seal Darul Sehat set in motion amid staff’s protest


April 25, 2019

A joint team of the Sindh Health Department and the Sindh Health Care Commission (SHCC) started shutting down the Darul Sehat Hospital on Wednesday night after Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah expressed dissatisfaction with the action and recommendations of the SHCC and ordered sealing the facility.

“On the written order of the CM and the health department, a joint team of the department and the SHCC, led by the latter’s CEO, Dr Minhaj Qidwai, and Deputy Health Secretary Aijaz Khanzada, are in the process of sealing the Darul Sehat Hospital in Gulistan-e-Jauhar,” SHCC Chairman Prof Tipu Sultan told The News.

Amid the closing down of Darul Sehat, doctors and paramedics of the hospital protested against the arrests of their senior professors and the government’s decision to close the facility.

According to a senior doctor, there was another group present outside the hospital that was protesting against the facility’s administration, doctors and paramedics. He said the protesters also hurled eggs at the hospital staff, adding that the situation was saved from worsening because of heavy police presence on the scene.

At the start of this month a nursing assistant at Darul Sehat had administered nine-month-old Nashwa Ali potassium chloride in concentrated form intravenously, causing her heart to stop. She was resuscitated for around 45 minutes, during which her brain suffered irreparable damage. She died at another private hospital during treatment on Monday morning.

‘Flawed’ report

CM Shah has told the media that the SHCC report on the Nashwa case was flawed. He said he was dissatisfied with the report as well as the action recommended by the commission against the hospital and its staff. “Even the health minister has expressed reservations on the report.”

The chief executive was talking to journalists after offering his condolences to Nashwa’s father Qaiser Ali at the latter’s residence in Gulistan-e-Jauhar. He was accompanied by Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho, information adviser Barrister Murtaza Wahab, IGP Dr Kaleem Imam, Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shalwani and others.

Shah also visited the Ibrahim Hyderi house of 26-year-old Asmat, who was drugged and raped during her visit to the Sindh Government Hospital Korangi No. 5 for a check-up last week, and talked to the media after offering his condolences to her family.

Rejecting the SHCC report on Nashwa, he said: “The SHCC noted that over 50 per cent of the hospital staff was untrained. This is a serious matter and it can’t be tolerated.”

Earlier, Nashwa’s father told the CM that some people nominated in the FIR had not been arrested. Shah directed the police chief to arrest the remaining suspects and inform the family of their daily progress in the case.

Meanwhile, the commissioner issued a statement announcing that Darul Sehat will be sealed anytime during the night, as more than 80 staff members of the hospital were found to be untrained.

Brief detention

Two senior staff members of Darul Sehat have been released after their brief detention. Prof Dr Rashid Naseem, who is also a member of the hospital’s board, and Prof Dr Rizwan Azmi, who heads the facility’s surgery department, had been detained by the police earlier in the evening.

“The police came to the hospital and took them away to the Sharea Faisal police station,” said a senior doctor. “The officials had lied to the doctors that they were taking them to the police station to discuss the security plan for the hospital staff’s protest on Friday.”

A group of doctors, paramedics and other staff members of the hospital gathered outside the Sharea Faisal police station to protest against the detention of the senior doctors, but both of them were released three and a half hours later.

DSP Zahid Hussain rejected the claim that the doctors were arrested. He said the senior staff members of the hospital were not detained, adding that they were only called for a discussion.

MS suspended

Regarding the Asmat case, CM Shah told the media that the medical superintendent of the Sindh Government Hospital Korangi No. 5 had been suspended and stern action against would be taken against the doctors and staff reportedly involved.

Asmat’s family told Shah that the doctors they had nominated in their police complaint had not been arrested, and that one of them not only appeared on different news channels to defend himself but also levelled allegations against the deceased and her family.

The CM directed the IGP to ensure that an FIR was registered according to the statement of the family. He also deplored the fact that news channels were inviting controversial people on their talk shows.

He said he had ordered the commissioner to conduct staff audit of all the private hospitals in the city to ascertain how many trained and untrained staff members they had hired for technical work and how many medical cases they had dealt with without the relevant expertise. “Doctors are human beings and they can make mistakes. However, there is a clear difference between a mistake and criminal negligence. We’re investigating Nashwa’s and Asmat’s cases, and if criminal negligence is found, it will not be tolerated.”

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