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May 16, 2019

Doctors in KP boycott duty to protest torture on surgeon

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May 16, 2019

PESHAWAR: To lodge protest against the alleged torture on a surgeon by the security guards of Health Minister Dr Hisham Inamullah Khan in the Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH) a day earlier, the doctor community in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Wednesday boycotted duty and paralysed health services in all the public sector hospitals of the province.

Right from the three tertiary care hospitals in Peshawar, including Lady Reading Hospital (LRH), Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH) and Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC), the doctors in other districts such as Mardan, Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan, Swat and Abbottabad observed complete strike and refused to provide services.

Except limited services at the Accident and Emergency Departments (A&EDs), the doctors were unanimous in their decision not to entertain any patient in their respective institutions.

Interestingly, all the doctors decided to support their colleague, Dr Ziauddin, an assistant professor of general surgery department KTH, but none of them publicly condemned his act when he allegedly stormed the conference room of the hospital and threw eggs at Dr Nausherwan Burki and other senior officials.

They were holding a meeting of the Policy Board at the KTH conference room where Dr Ziauddin and a few other doctors entered and started throwing eggs at Dr Nausherwan Burki. Though in their private discussions, some of the doctors criticised Dr Ziauddin and termed his act as unlawful and against the Pakhtun norms and traditions.

They said what Dr Ziauddin had done was his personal act but he successfully made it an issue of the entire doctor community of KP. As the incident had taken place in KTH, therefore, the doctors had stopped all types of services from Tuesday and even suspended providing services at the Accident and Emergency Department. It caused serious problems to the patents brought to emergency department of KTH on Tuesday night.

It may be mentioned that after Dr Ziauddin threw eggs at Dr Burki in KTH, Health Minister Dr Hisham Inamullah immediately arrived there and claimed in a statement that the purpose of his visit was to give company to Dr Burki. However, he came across Dr Ziauddin and both of them couldn’t control their emotions and indulged in physical violence.

Chief Minister Mahmood Khan had ordered an inquiry to probe the alleged physical attack on Dr Nausherwan Burki and Health Minister Dr Hisham Inamullah . Soon after the incident on Tuesday, doctors from other hospitals as well as politicians of the opposition parties arrived in KTH to support Dr Ziauddin and his colleagues.

The doctors staged a protest and blocked the main University Road to traffic and chanted slogans against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government and Dr Nausherwan Burki. Senior government official, however, said they had collected initial information about the incident.

He said the hospital authorities either failed to maintain order or intentionally let it happen. “There is strong evidence that people within the KTH and particularly in the administration were involved in this incident. Dr Ziauddin and a few of his supporters were standing in the main entrance of the hospital since 10am on Tuesday. The hospital had enough security headed by a retired colonel and then they had police personnel but the question is why didn’t they disperse this small group of doctors knowing that senior officials including Dr Burki is arriving in the hospital,” a senior government official told The News.

Pleading anonymity, he said it has been proposed that serious disciplinary action should be initiated against the hospital administration. “When there were enough security guards and the hospital management was present then why didn’t they stop Dr Ziauddin and a few low level hospital employees from entering the conference room where a meeting was in progress,” said the government official.

The KTH administration later in the night lodged an FIR against Dr Ziauddin but he has managed to stay in the hospital and avoid his arrest. “I along with other doctors visited him today and he is completely alright but who can ask him to go home,” said a fellow surgeon of Dr Ziauddin. Meanwhile, the KTH administration on the directive of KP government ordered an inquiry into the incident.

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