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May 10, 2019

Senior officials summoned over cardiovascular surgery ward closure

Peshawar

May 10, 2019

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Thursday summoned the senior officials of the Health Department over the closure of the only cardiovascular surgery ward of the largest state-run public sector hospital in Peshawar.

Expressing concern over the closure of the ward at the Lady Reading Hospital, the court summoned secretary and director general Health and Services Department to the court on the next hearing.

“The government and hospital administration should close the hospital if it cannot provide facilities and required equipment to the cardiovascular ward of the hospital, instead of depriving hundreds of poor patients of heart diseases, who cannot afford expensive treatment in the private hospitals,” Justice Qaiser Rashid, who was heading the two-member bench observed. The second judge in the bench was Justice Abdul Shakoor.

The bench put on notice secretary and director general of Health Department, medical director and hospital director, directing them to appear before the court on May 22 and explain their position over the closure of the ward.

The bench directed the respondents, including Board of Governors (BoG) of the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) to submit a reply within 10 days over the closure of the cardiovascular surgery ward of the hospital.

The bench issued the restraining order and stopped the BoG from taking any adverse action against the doctors of the cardiovascular surgery ward until a decision on the case.

The order was issued in a writ petition filed by six senior doctors of the ward, including cardiac surgeons Riaz Anwar and Abdul Malik.

During the hearing, Qazi Jawad Ihsanullah, counsel for the petitioners, submitted that petitioners were senior professors of the cardiovascular surgery ward of the LRH and had been in charge of the surgery section of the ward in the hospital for over two decades.

He argued that recently the BoG of the LRH Medical Teaching Institution through a notification closed the cardiovascular surgery ward with the observation that the mortality rate of the heart patients had increased.

The lawyer submitted that the death rate was increased in the ward due to lack of facilities and equipment needed for the heart patients and the faculty members had time and again sought those facilities.

He said instead of providing the required facilities and equipment to the ward, the authorities launched conspiracies against the senior most doctors of the ward and defamed them for the hike in the fatalities.

The counsel said the hospital management first on February 4 temporarily stopped surgeries at the ward. Despite lack of facilities, the faculty members conducted operations but the ward was permanently stopped by the management.

He submitted that LRH was the only government-run hospital of the province where cardiovascular surgeries were being carried out. The lawyer said the poor heart patients had been deprived of the treatment after the closure of the ward.

The counsel said the hospital management had reduced surgeries time to three hours, while normally five to seven-hour time was needed for cardiovascular surgery.

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