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April 26, 2019

PMA terms closure of hospitals with patients under treatment ‘state terrorism’


April 26, 2019

Terming the closure of a private hospital when there were patients under treatment in its wards ‘state terrorism’, the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) on Thursday said only those medical officers who were responsible for the death of baby girl Nashwa must be punished as closing down a hospital where hundreds of patients received treatment would not improve the state of health care in the province.

“We believe that baby Nashwa was killed when she was administered an injection in a wrong manner. Similarly, we also believe that the death of a lady, Asmat, at a government hospital in Korangi is also a murder but closing down hospitals is not the solution. We demand restructuring and strengthening the Sindh Healthcare Commission [SHCC] to deal with such situations and prevent such incidents in the future,” said Dr Qaiser Sajjad, the PMA secretary general, while addressing a news conference.

Accompanied by other office bearers of the PMA such as Dr Abdul Ghafoor Shoro, Dr Khalil Mukkadam, Dr Farhan Essa and others, Dr Sajjad said the medial association was extremely perturbed by the repeated incidents of negligence of health care professionals leading to the deaths of patients. He, however, added that nowhere in the world, the health facilities were closed when there were patients under treatment in different wards and intensive care units.

Calling for the complete overhaul of the SHCC by introducing amendments in its law to deal with such situations and giving it more powers and resources, Dr Sajjad said either the government should let the SHCC deal with the situation or close it.

“The provincial government has asked the commissioner Karachi to carry out an audit of the health care facilities in Karachi, which is not his job. The government should let the health care commission do its job or abolish it,” the PMA secretary general said.

He was of the view that due to ill-planned actions, which included the arrests of two senior doctors, physicians at other private hospitals were turning away patients in critical condition, surgeons were denying surgeries and paramedical staff and nurses were reluctant to administer medicines to the patients through injections.

“The trust of people in the health care professionals is diminishing and people are getting confused and terrorised. Instead of following the advice of their physicians and surgeons, they are consulting others and this is leading to a chaos,” Dr Sajjad said. He urged the media and the authorities to take up the issue sensibly and refrain from sensationalising the issue.

“The PMA believes that we should learn lesson from this tragic incident and health providers should always follow the protocols strictly to avoid any untoward incidence that leads to the loss of life. Doctors and hospital staff should serve wholeheartedly because the responsibility of taking care of human life lies with them. Only those should join the medical profession who are committed. It is the duty of hospitals to appoint qualified, skilled and trained people on merit,” he maintained.

According to Dr Sajjad, the unfortunate incidents of negligence were not uncommon in other parts of the world but nowhere in the world, attacking the health facilities and beating doctors and medical staff was allowed.

“The PMA wants an end to mob violence and also expects from media not to sensationalise such issues. Loss of human life is always regrettable but sensible dealing with these situations is equally important. A proper inquiry by the authorities, fixing the responsibilities and differentiating between negligence and complication is the solution to this problem,” the PMA office bearer said.

He maintained that whatever people listened to and watched through the media in the Nashwa death case had badly affected the trust between doctors and patients, which was very serious and all the stakeholders needed to take steps to make that relation strong.

“We will never accept and support any kind of negligence and carelessness on the part of doctors and other health care professionals,” he said, adding that only the individuals responsible for negligence should be punished, not the whole institution. Putting the senior professors and doctors behind the bars was not a solution to the problem, Dr Sajjad said as he called for taking steps to overhaul the existing health care system in the province.

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