Uneasy situation: Emergency wards up to their necks in attendants

Published: February 7, 2017
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LAHORE: The government’s failure to enforce the “one patient, one attendant policy” has wreaked havoc at the Lahore General Hospital.

The overwhelming number of attendants with patients has not only created hurdles for medical treatment, but also put the safety of medics and other staff in danger, it was learnt on Monday.

While matters have calmed down some at LGH, it has raised questions over order at the medical facility.

This uncertain environment comes on the coattails of a February 4 incident which occurred at the Mayo Hospital emergency ward where attendants and patients attacked some lady doctors and threatened other medical officers. Subsequently, the Mayo Hospital administration set up a committee as attendants claimed a patient died on the table due to doctor’s negligence.

On February 4, 36-year-old Yaseen died at the Mayo Hospital emergency ward. Consequently, the attendants started a confrontation with the on-duty medical staff.

The hospital administration formed a medical committee which was told that the incident took place due to the large number of attendants and inept approach of security personnel.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Dr Zafarullah Khan Lashari, whose name was put on the inquiry committee list as he was involved in the scuffle, said the failure to implement the one patient one attendant policy was apparent for everyone to see.

Citing the root cause of all conflicts at emergency wards, the doctor said it demonstrated the non-serious behavior of senior officials of the health department.

He said the Mayo Hospital emergency ward deals with hundreds of patients on a daily basis and doctors are on duty for up to 96 hours a week duty in difficult conditions. He added it was the responsibility of the administration to make appropriate arrangements for doctors’ security.

“We have submitted several requisitions to the hospital administration to increase security at emergency wards, but all efforts were in vain” he said.

Aiman, a woman doctor who was present when the incident occurred, said the medics on duty were overburdened by the number of patients. She said it was the duty of security officials to manage the situation if patients were abusing medics.

“Unfortunately, all staff was politically influenced and had no idea how to handle such a chaotic situation,” she said “What do we even do if they manhandle us?” she asked.

She said that through the YDA platform, the doctors demanded the implementation of the one attendant per patient policy. She added failure to do so would result in the recurrence of such incidents.

When contacted, Mayo Hospital Deputy Medical Superintendent Dr Asim said the administrations had already beefed up security and irrelevant people were no longer allowed into the emergency ward.

“Even media persons are not allowed. We are strictly maintaining the one patient, one attendant policy to avoid an incident like that of February 4.”

A health department spokesman also said these incidents would not be tolerated at government hospitals and they were waiting for the report of the inquiry committee. He said if any medical facilities were found breaking the attendant policy, strict actions would be taken, the official stressed.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2017.

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