Saturday April 20, 2024

Cancer patient denied treatment all over Sindh awaits painful death

By M. Waqar Bhatti
July 27, 2022

KARACHI: A peasant from a small town in Sindh, who was diagnosed with oral cancer, has reportedly been denied medical treatment at nine leading public and private healthcare institutions in Karachi and other cities of Sindh. If the disease was not enough, the lack of empathy by doctors has compelled him to return to his hometown and await a painful death due to terminal-stage cancer, The News has learnt.

“My brother Shafaqat Masih, a resident of Sakrand town of Sindh, diagnosed with oral cancer around two months back, was denied treatment at nine leading public and private hospitals in Nawabshah, Gambat and Karachi. After failing to get any medical treatment, we have taken him back to our hometown Sakrand, where he is in extreme agony and awaiting death”, Amir Ghauri, the young brother of Shafaqat Masih, said.

He said Shafqat Masih developed a small blister on his cheek some three months back. As he is a tobacco-eater, he got worried and decided to get it examined. He went to Nuclear Medicine Oncology & Radiotherapy Institute Nawabshah (NORIN) for treatment, who got his biopsy done from Jamshoro and then referred him to the Gambat Institute of Medical Sciences (GIMS) for treatment. This started a process of shuttling between different health institutions without any healing touch.

“The doctors at the Gambat Institute of Medical Sciences (GIMS) said they could not treat the patient and referred him to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC), Karachi, saying the JPMC had a dedicated ward for oral cancer treatment,” Ghauri claimed. “We rushed him to Karachi and managed to see a doctor in the Oncology ward of JPMC. He prescribed some medicines for my brother, saying he required no surgery or any other treatment. The doctor prescribed him some medicines of Indian origin and asked us to buy them from some leading pharmacies in the city”, Akram Ghauri added.

Masih started using the expensive, smuggled Indian medicine but his condition continued to deteriorate and he began to experience difficulty swallowing. Alarmed, the family took him to Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) in distress. “At the DUHS, a group of doctors examined 45-year-old Shafqat who advised us that he could only be treated at Karachi Institute of Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine (KIRAN)”, Ghauri said but claimed that when they approached KIRAN, doctors at the institute asked them to take the patient to the Civil Hospital Karachi as they could not perform surgery.

Here again, Ghauri said doctors at the Civil Hospital Karachi referred him to Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT), which has a full-fledged cancer ward. But “unfortunately, there was also no treatment available for Shafqat Masih at SIUT and the doctors referred him to a private health facility in Bahadurabad. I have forgotten the name of private health facility who also declined treatment and advised us to take him to Cancer Foundation Hospital in Gulshan-e-Iqbal”, he further claimed.

In a glaring display of lack of empathy, the worst happened at Cancer Foundation Hospital, he claimed, saying doctors at the private hospital examined his brother and told him he was a dead man. “They spoke with such brutality that my brother was stunned. Humiliated, sick and tired, he asked us to take him back to Sakrand as he is no more willing to visit any hospital,” Akram Ghauri claimed.

According to Ghauri, they have shifted the patient back to his residence in Mehran Colony, Sakrand, and are giving him Indian medications prescribed by the oncologist at JPMC but added that his condition continues to deteriorate with every passing day. “He is unable to eat, drink or even breathe. The patient is too weak to be taken to any other health facility. I can’t even believe that not a single health facility in Sindh has cancer treatment for patients like my brother,” Akram Ghauri wondered.