The Punjab government has referred a case of alleged medical negligence at Services Hospital to the Punjab Healthcare Commission after the two committees formed to probe the incident submitted conflicting reports.
The incident involved Muhammad Asif, 45, who was brought to the Services Hospital emergency ward on August 20 after he was severely injured in a traffic accident. The patient had succumbed to his injuries at the hospital a few hours later. Some of his relatives had accused the doctors of negligence and vandalized and burnt furniture and equipment at the emergency ward.
A committee was then formed by the chief minister and another by the hospital’s medical superintendant to investigate the matter. The former had found the doctors to be negligent while the latter had cleared them of any wrongdoing.
The committee formed by the chief minister was headed by Professor Syed Owais, the head of Orthopaedics Department at the King Edward Medical University. A member of the committee told The Express Tribune, on condition of anonymity, that there had been a 20-minute delay in providing treatment to the patient. “The report submitted by the committee says the patient wasn’t attended to in time.
Had he been treated timely, he might have been saved,” the committee member told The Tribune.
Professor Owais confirmed to The Tribune that the committee had submitted its report but declined further comment. “The report is confidential. The government may release the report when and if it considers it necessary,” he said.
The other committee was headed by Professor Mahmood Ayaz, a professor of surgery at Services Hospital. According to its report, the doctors provided the best possible treatment to the patient.
Dr Anwar Janjua, the Health Department additional secretary, told The Tribune that the matter had been referred to the Punjab Healthcare Commission.
Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) Secretary General Dr Izhar Chaudhry welcomed the government’s decision to forward the matter to the healthcare commission. He said both the earlier inquiries had been “illegal”.
“Not only should all alleged negligence be probed by the Punjab Healthcare Commission,” he said, “the incident of vandalising the emergency ward should also be investigated by the commission.” Chaudhry said the commission had the authority to deal with those who damaged hospital property.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2012.