The Punjab Assembly session on Wednesday was dominated by an MPA’s lament of the death of her son allegedly due to negligence at a public hospital in the city.
MPAs from both the opposition and treasury benches recounted stories of mistreatment or negligence at hospitals in Lahore. The government was to introduce 12 bills in the house and table three others for reconsideration, but was unable to because of the furore over healthcare.
Speaker Rana Iqbal summoned the medical superintendent of Services Hospital for Thursday for questioning as to how Zille Subhan, 27, the only son of PML-Nawaz MPA Tayyaba Zameer, had died. He also referred the matter to the standing committee on health.
The assembly resumed its session at 11.25am, 85 minutes behind schedule, with question hour about the Housing and Urban Development Department. Zameer then stood on a point of order to narrate her ordeal of the last three months. She said she had been admitted to Services Hospital three months ago and her son came to visit her one day.
She said that Subhan had taken the opportunity while visiting her in hospital to undergo some tests. She said that one of the doctors injected him with something, which caused a severe reaction and hindered his breathing. She said doctors did not treat her son properly, even though she had talked to the medical superintendent about it.
She said she took her son to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, where he was put on a ventilator and later died. She then approached the chief minister. She said he had ordered an inquiry, but “his team has done nothing”.
Shumaila Rana of the PML-N demanded that the matter be referred to the standing committee on health.
Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said he would call the health secretary to the house on Thursday and order him to conduct an inquiry, but members opposed his suggestion.
Chaudhry Abdul Waheed of the PML-N said that he had visited Services Hospital on Wednesday for a check-up but the additional medical superintendent and medical superintendent made him wait two hours, after which they told him that no doctors were available.
Uzma Bukhari of the PPP said that four months ago, her son had broken his arm and she had taken him to Service Hospital. She said that she was told that her son could not be treated for four days since the orthopaedic surgeon would not be available till then.
Unification Bloc leader Sheikh Alauddin said that he had approached the Punjab Institute of Cardiology with a request to examine a patient, but the doctors were reluctant to treat him.
Dr Majida Zaidi said that the healthcare commission set up by the Punjab government had failed.
Outside the assembly
Dozens of Sikhs staged a protest in front of the Punjab Assembly to mark the anniversary of the massacre of Sikhs in India on June 6, 1984, following the assassination of then Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards.
The Mall was decorated with banners depicting the Sikh massacre.
Several protesters gave speeches denouncing India and calling for an independent Sikh homeland called Khalistan.
The protesters were allowed to move up to the second security barrier outside the assembly building, where they were received by Minister Chaudhry Abdul Ghafoor. A Sikh delegation and Ghafoor also met with and spoke to the assembly speaker. They asked that the assembly pass a resolution condemning the June 6, 1984, massacre, but no such resolution was placed on the agenda.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2012.