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December 13, 2019

PIC patients suffer sans treatment for second day


December 13, 2019

LAHORE: The hapless heart patients were left to suffer sans treatment for the second consecutive day in the aftermath of Wednesday’s pandemonium in the Punjab Institute of Cardiology in Lahore in addition to initial assessment of over Rs 70 million damages to the public and private property in the hospital.

Uneasy calm and somber surroundings explained befallen tragedy on the patients and the hospital as the patients, doctors, nurses, hospital management and ancillary staff were terrified amidst marching of Rangers and police officials. The Emergency Ward could not be made functional on Thursday as the Out-Patients Department (OPD), all indoor wards and operation theatres remained locked after a violent group of lawyers attacked the country’s biggest cardiac facility on Wednesday.

Resultantly, the serious and terminally-ill cardiac patients were referred to other hospitals with cardiac facility including Mayo Hospital, Services Hospital, Shaikh Zayed Hospital and Jinnah Hospital which were already burdened with cardiac patients. The patients’ families, according to their affordability, had to rush their serious patients to private hospitals, while others simply went back home at the mercy of fate. “The government has displayed extremely apathetic attitude towards the plight of poor patients who were left to die in the absence of treatment,” said Safia Bibi who had to return without treatment to her critically-ill husband from the PIC on Thursday. She condemned the government for its failure to come to the rescue of poor patients who were virtually crushed between the mafias of doctors and lawyers.

Abdullah, son of a terminally-ill patient, said the hospital authorities were issuing as longer dates as 1.5 years for a bypass operation, which is a death sentence to serious cardiovascular patients. “The closure of hospital has deprived heart patients of even examination by doctors, besides denial of medicines critical in the treatment of serious cardiac patients,” he said.

Meanwhile, the doctors in all hospitals observed black day and worked while wearing black armbands in solidarity with their PIC colleagues who were observing three-day mourning over the demise of three patients due to lawyers’ violence in the hospital. The doctors have launched a “Save PIC” movement as they also held protests demonstrations and rallies in their respective hospitals.

Dr Salman Haseeb Chaudhry, chairman of Grand Health Alliance, condemned the miscreants among the lawyers community for attacking the sanctity of hospitals considered to be protected even during war times. “We will observe a vigil with torches on Friday (today) in solidarity with the patients who lost their lives during the lawyers assault,” he said and demanded that the government run the cases against the lawyers in military courts.

He also demanded immediate resignation of the Punjab chief minister, Law minister and Health minister for their failure to ensure normalcy in hospitals for the doctors and staff to extend treatment to patients. “The doctors and other medical staff are forced to extend treatment to the patients in an environment of constant fear,” he said, adding that an immediate law should be affected to provide security in hospitals across Punjab.

According to a report of initial assessment of damages in the hospital, the lawyers destroyed 10 cardiac monitors, four echocardiography machines, three ventilators, emergency back hall, computers, telephones, doors, windowpanes, glass divisions, main gate, walk through gates, 16 cars in and outside the hospitals, false ceilings, walls, flower pots and many more. “The further assessment of loss/damage will be compiled in the due course of time,” says a report prepared by Dr Ameer Hussain, medical superintendent of PIC. The Head of PIC, Prof Dr Saqib Shafi has quoted a financial loss of over Rs 70 million in the initial assessment of loss and damages to the public and private property.

Meanwhile, the official team of the Communications and Works Department visited the hospital to assess the damage to the hospital building. It will present its report at the earliest.

Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid, who chaired a meeting with PIC authorities on Thursday, called the unruly lawyers “outlaws” who showed no respect for the rule of law and sanctity of the hospital. “Not only the PIC doctors and staff, the patients also need security against the lawyers,” she said and promised strongest action against the lawyers involved in the attack on the PIC. Giving assurance to the doctors, nurses and medical staff of the PIC, she said the government would compensate the damage caused to public and private properties in the hospital.

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