The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) and other associations have demanded a ban on registering FIRs against doctors and paramedics, unless their negligence is proved.
At a press conference at PMA House, PMA Karachi chief Dr Idrees Adhi and representatives of medical organisations criticised two television channels for blaming them unnecessarily for the death of a baby at Imam Clinic in North Nazimabad on October 1.
According to Adhi, nine-month-old Azaan was critically ill when he was admitted to Imam Clinic on September 29. “It was a natural death but the family launched an FIR against the doctor who was treating him,” he said.
Adhi said that few men from a private media channel came to the hospital on Tuesday night with cameras and armed security guards. They misbehaved with the doctor, calling him a murderer and threatening him with dire consequences. Then they aired the misleading footage, claiming that they were attacked by the doctors and hospital staff.
The footage obtained from closed-circuit cameras of the hospital was displayed during the press conference. It showed the media men entering with two security guards, one armed with a pistol and the other with a shotgun.
Dr Farrukh, a doctor at Imam Clinic, said that those media men came to Dr Azhar Chughtai, who treated Azaan. According to him, Chughtai was forced to do an interview at gunpoint. “When Azaan died on October 1, [a journalist] came to the hospital,” he said. “He entered the nurses counter and snatched the file of the patient.” This fact was also corroborated by footage from closed-circuit cameras.
“This kind of behaviour is absolutely unacceptable,” Adhi said, simmering with anger. “Doctors are not treated like this anywhere in the world.” He proposed an impartial inquiry into Azaan’s death. Cases like these should always be investigated by doctors with more than 15 years of experience.
President Adhi announced that the PMA already submitted a health bill to the Sindh government. “If our demands are not accepted, we reserve the right to protest,” he said. “We know that doctor protests always create problems for the patients but we do not have any other option to convey our feelings to the government and the masses.”
Dr Samreen Hashmi, the president of PMA Sindh chapter, said that doctors are emigrating because of security threats. “We cannot work when someone is pointing a gun at us.”
She said that the media men who charged into Imam Clinic fired in the hospital which could have hurt someone. “Does this mean we should not admit anyone who has relatives in the media?” Hashmi asked.
Representatives of the Private Clinics and Hospitals Association, Pakistan Islamic Medical Association, Medical Aid Committee and other medical organisations were also present.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2011.
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