60-year-old woman dies after being refused treatment at multiple Lahore hospitals

Published: January 3, 2017

LAHORE: For Zehra Bibi, being poor spelled her doom. The 60-year-old from Kasur died after a heart attack on Monday when hospital after hospital in Lahore refused to treat her.

Her daughter had not even imagined taking back her mother back in a coffin while transporting her to Lahore, expecting to get better treatment in a bigger city with the government’s claims of state-of-the-art medical facilities.

The hospital infrastructure in the provincial metropolis was laid bare when several medical facilities failed to attend to a simple case of myocardial infarction.

Hospital’s failure draws heroic response from university

“We first took her to the Punjab Institute of Cardiology, where doctors refused to treat her. We went to the Services Hospital, which also refused treatment. Only then we reached Jinnah Hospital, who refused saying they could not provide her a bed in the emergency ward,” Zehra’s daughter told The Express Tribune while shifting her mother’s body into an ambulance to take her back to her native town.

“Being poor is a sin in this country,” she lamented. “Doctors treated my mother on the ward floor.”

Dr Rana Arif at Jinnah hospital said the doctors should have transferred her to the intensive care unit, but they did not even provide her a bed in emergency. “Such incidents are taking place day and night and will be happening in the future as well until the government does not improve the health sector on priority basis,” he added.

The doctor said the patient was suffering from kidney failure and suffered a heart attack as well.

Poor conditions

Approximately 8,000 to 10,000 patients are treated daily at the emergency and general wards of public hospitals in Lahore. Mayo Hospital’s emergency ward has 200 beds for a daily inflow of 3,000 patients while PIC has established a 100-bed facility along with the 16 old beds for over 50 patients daily.

Emergency? Need an X-ray? Don’t go to Lahore’s Mayo hospital

Apart from being unable to cope with common diseases such as hypertension or lung ailments, the state-run hospitals also lack specialised operation theatres. Neither do the paediatricians, cardiothoracic surgeons or urologists have separate operation theatres, resulting in routine arguments between general surgeons and specialists.

A brewing crisis

Approximately 40 and 50 casualties are reported every day at the emergency rooms of Mayo and Jinnah, respectively. Similar numbers are recorded at most hospitals across Punjab.

Dr Salman Kazmi at Mayo Hospital admits many people die every day as the hospital has no proper medical facilities, even for common diseases.

Reforms promised

When the footage of the woman’s death appeared in the media, Health Minister Khawaja Salman Rafique along with the secretary visited the Jinnah Hospital and ordered an inquiry into the incident.

He blamed the explosive growth in population for the overcrowding at hospitals. “All government-run hospital have a policy of no refusal so the hospital administrator decided to treat the patient on the floor,” he added.

Health affairs in a shambles despite govt’s tall claims

The specialised healthcare secretary has constituted an investigation committee.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 3rd, 2017.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • Sodomite
    Jan 3, 2017 - 11:32AM

    Surely the woman’s family should have known better that one needs an “American Express” Credit Card to get into Hospital. Check Doctor’s Hospital how they do it. . Recommend

  • tribune
    Jan 3, 2017 - 12:04PM

    there is something called humanity which is lacking in pakistani politicians. corruption and only corruption they knw. sighRecommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Jan 3, 2017 - 12:56PM

    Only when there will a full-scale revolution on the scale of what happened in France or Russia will the numb-nuts in this country understand. These terrorist acts by themselves stand for nothing Recommend

  • lkhan
    Jan 3, 2017 - 1:13PM

    @tribune: It shames me to be Pakistani. Wish the ground would swallow me. No where in the world are politicians that callous, uncaring, greedy only for their personal wealth as if there is no tomorrow. They forget when in their graves, this wealth will be worth nothing at all. What superficial, selfish, disastrous lives they lead… and call themselves God fearing Muslims to boot!!Recommend

  • citizen26
    Jan 3, 2017 - 1:34PM

    Very sad, I fear going to these hospitals when I’m old.Recommend

    Jan 3, 2017 - 4:19PM

    We are all waiting for Allah to interfere with FIRE in this land of the PURE……where we ALL lost all humanistic values………….May Allah guide us all. Recommend

  • Salman
    Jan 3, 2017 - 5:50PM

    New roads are made to facilitate easy movements of coffinsRecommend

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