Hospital showdown


Masooma Zehra May 03, 2010

SARGODHA: A ward boy and doctor got into a brawl in the Sargodha district headquarters hospital (DHQ).

The Health EDO, who reached the scene, was also seriously beaten up. Dr Masood Ahmed, head of the emergency ward at the DHQ got into an argument with a ward boy Ehsan. According to Ehsan, the doctor threatened him and slapped him, upon which clerk grade four employees joined into the fray and the fight escalated. The argument started when a patient was brought into the emergency ward by Ehsan who insisted that she be treated as soon as possible as she was in critical condition.

Dr Masood stated that the ward was already overly-crowded and he couldn’t accommodate another patient. “The ward boy kept insisting that this was an emergency case, which goes without saying as I work in the emergency ward. All the cases are critical and there were already too many patients to handle,” Dr Masood said. After refusing the patient, the doctor and the orderly exchanged heated words, before the doctor reportedly pushed him and slapped him.

“Dr Masood threatened me and said that if I didn’t leave his ward immediately he would ‘break my legs’,” Ehsan said. “He told me that I was a nobody,” adding “who are you to question my orders? You have nothing to do with any of this,” Ehsan elaborated. Ehsan said that he had been slapped and pushed and he even bore a mark on his face. Dr Masood maintained that he had merely ‘tapped’ Ahsan on the chest with his pen to signal that he needed to calm down and take the patient somewhere else.

“It wasn’t a heated argument; I only tapped him in a friendly and joking manner. I said that I couldn’t treat the patient right now and he needed to let me get back to work,” he said. The doctor maintains that he has no idea why everyone was blowing the incident out of proportion. “Apparently now he has ‘a mark’ on his face, even though I was just joking and tapped him,” he said. After the incident, other grade four employees flared up and a quarrel started all over the hospital.

Patients and their attendants were frightened by the shouting as wards were locked. Patients started jumping out of their windows to escape the violence. Other patients gathered around the beds in the emergency ward to watch events unfold. Patients in surrounding wards were found standing on their beds and narrating the fight for invalids who were bedridden. On information, the Sargodha Health EDO Dr Ashraf Javed reached the scene.

By this time members of the paramedics association and members of the Sargodha wing of the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) had already called a strike and were in the hospital. The paramedics had completely destroyed the medical superintendent’s offices by smashing the windows and breaking all the furniture. All the medical wards were being closed down and patients were evacuated to the grounds where they stayed in the harsh summer heat. The EDO tried to mediate between the doctors and paramedics as well as the grade four employees and asked them about their demands, trying to get the parties to reach a compromise.

He was severely beaten up by members of the paramedics association. Javed sustained injuries to the head and has been admitted to the hospital. “I am beyond caring who did what to whom, I am the one who got beaten up and has sustained injuries and I shall be the one filing a report against those responsible,” Javed said. Doctors and employees are still protesting the event. However, EDO Ashraf Javed has filed an FIR with the local police station regarding the incident, as well as the assault on his person. Javed has not yet nominated any specific culprits in the case and has registered a general complaint.

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