LRH fails to take action in Alesha’s case

Medical officials involved in shambolic treatment still scot free

Umer Farooq June 21, 2016
Medical officials involved in shambolic treatment still scot free. PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR: The management of Lady Reading Hospital has failed to take any action, despite an enquiry finding the facility’s officials guilty of negligence when treating wounded transgender person Alesha.

The victim was shot multiple times and succumbed to her wounds at LRH on May 25.

Officials privy to the matter told The Express Tribune on Tuesday that an enquiry committee was formed to probe the matter. However, members of the transgender community and civil society representatives raised objections over the probing committee. They demanded the establishment of an independent panel to probe the issue.

The officials stated the probing committee investigated the issue from different angles and interviewed a number of people so that those responsible for negligence could be taken to task.

“When the first panel was rejected, we thought the second panel’s recommendation will be followed, but it does not seem to be the case,” a senior health official told The Express Tribune, requesting anonymity. He said the report was submitted to the health department.

Left in a lurch

“I wonder why the report was submitted to the health department since it cannot even take action against those found guilty,” the official questioned. He stated LRH was an autonomous body and decided all its matters in meetings of the board of governors.

Pointing out loopholes: Trans Action rejects fact-finding committee’s report by LRH

He maintained the decision to take action against the seven officials who were found guilty was the domain of the board of governors.

A document available with The Express Tribune read the enquiry report has been sent to the LRH Board of Governors for necessary action. Besides, an email has also been sent to the chairperson Board of Governors, Medical Teaching Institution, LRH.

“The enquiry committee has identified all those which it considered were guilty for negligence and now it is for board of governors to decide their fate,” an LRH official said. However, he believed the hospital would not take action against its own officials.

“Yes, we can say a senior and ‘influential’ member of the board of governors is hesitant to take them to task,” a senior LRH official said.

The enquiry report seems useless despite the fact that committee members confirmed in the report the LRH staff failed to provide proper medical care.

“Yes, they will save face and might take the odd employee to task, but the administration will never take action against those officials [truly] involved in the negligence.”

Earlier on June 2, an initial report stated Alesha was shifted five times to different wards and subjected to gender discrimination. Doctors treating her did not follow the due procedure. Even pellets from her body were removed after 48 hours, causing severe loss of blood and her ultimate death.

It added Alesha was treated in the accident and emergency room by two medical officers identified as Dr Syed Anwar and Dr Gulab Noor. Another doctor, Dr Javed, who was actually on duty, was not at work and this situation arose through an “internal arrangement”. “LRH Director Amir Ghafoor did not provide accurate information about the presence of the doctor on duty, whereas the director left the country for four days without any notification of who would have the additional charge,” the report further stated.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 22nd, 2016.