Monday February 06, 2023

Doctors threaten to suspend services if perpetrators not held

May 03, 2021

PESHAWAR: Almost all major organisations of the doctor community in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa condemned the attack by a violent mob allegedly led by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) MPA Nighat Orakzai on the Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC). The doctors accused the woman lawmaker and others of harassing healthcare providers and using foul language against them.

They also threatened to suspend all services from Monday if the government didn’t arrest the female legislator and other accomplices. The doctors urged the government to lodge FIR against MPA Nighat Orakzai and other culprits under the security act.

Also, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan had taken notice of the incident and directed provincial police officer Sanaullah Abbasi to submit a report to him within 10 hours. The chief minister expressed shock over the incident and said he would never allow anyone to storm hospitals and harass healthcare providers, particularly when they were handling the pandemic and saving precious lives.

“I will ensure the security of the healthcare providers and will not spare anyone no matter how influential they might be if they tried to sabotage the peaceful environment of our province,” the chief minister stated in a statement.

The incident took place on Friday night when a boy was taken to the casualty department of HMC with serious bullet injury on his head from Jamrud subdivision in Khyber tribal district. The boy was reportedly caught in crossfire between two rival groups in Jamrud.

According to the HMC administration, the boy was properly looked after in the accident and emergency department and the family was informed about his critical condition. “The neurosurgery team along with other doctors handled the injured professionally. He was in the operation theatre in the casualty department and the family was again informed about his condition,” said Prof Shehzad Akbar, medical director of HMC.

He said the patient couldn’t survive and the family was about to receive his body when someone entered the casualty department and started making a noise, saying the boy died due to the absence of doctors. Another issue that apparently irritated the attendants was when the doctors asked for medico legal process as they constantly stated that he died of an aerial bullet.

According to Prof Shehzad, the doctors in the casualty department told them that they had nothing to do with the nature of the injury but they fulfilled legal requirements.

“They took the body and left the hospital. When they went out of the hospital premises, they apparently informed Nighat Orakzai or Nighat Orakzai approached them to wait till her arrival. When she arrived, they placed the body in front of the main entrance of the hospital and gathered a large number of people there. They started throwing stones and brick pieces at the hospital and the gate was closed so the mob couldn’t enter the hospital,” said an official of the hospital administration.

According to the doctors, the protesters were about to leave but alleged that the female legislator stopped them and decided to start protest in front of the hospital. The hospital administration and doctors present there accused Nighat Orakzai of using foul language without any reason against the prime minister, chief minister, health minister and the doctor community.

She was particularly of Federal Minister for religious affairs Maulana Noorul Haq Qadri and passed negative remarks against him and some others. “She managed to enter the hospital from another gate along with several people, some of them armed, and came across some female doctors going to join night duty. She used extremely negative language against them and harassed them to a level that they had to run away to save their lives,” the medical director explained.

According to the doctors, the protesters caused serious hardships to other critical patients being brought to the casualty department as the protesters forcibly closed the main entrance leading towards the emergency services.

Annoyed by this attitude of Nighat Orakzai -and her supporters, the doctors announced suspension of all services in the hospital as a mark of protest.

“The Provincial Doctors Association, Young Doctors Association and Insaf Doctors Association had stopped services but it was good Prof Shehzad came there and convinced them not to suspend services as it would cause hardships to other patients, particularly the 200 covid patients fighting for the life,” said a member of the PDA.

Prof Shehzad told The News he went there to stop the doctors from suspension of services and talk to Nighat Orakzai and listen to her grievances. He said he was hurt by the language of the female legislator but even he stopped the doctors from their reaction.

“We were there to listen to their grievances but they had come with another agenda. It is a public sector hospital where the doctors and healthcare providers are at the risk of their lives serving patients round the clock,” Prof Shehzad said.

Members of the doctors' assassinations said they would suspend all services from Monday if the government didn’t lodge FIR against Nighat Orakzai under the security act and arrest her and others involved in storming the hospital.

According to them, it is the third time the people of Jamrud attacked HMC for no obvious reasons. This correspondent tried to seek comments from Nighat Orakzai but she neither picked up the phone nor replied to a voice message sent to her WhatsApp number. She however in a video statement appeared on social media claimed the family of the young boy approached her.