ISLAMABAD: Members of a parliamentary panel on Wednesday castigated the administration of the Pims for deliberately delaying a probe into the alleged rape of a patient by a staffer in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
“This is the height of irresponsibility and shows ill-intent on part of the hospital management for not properly following the case where the culprit is still out on bail,” slammed Member of National Assembly (MNA) Shahzadi Tiwana in the National Assembly Standing Committee on Government Assurances.
The committee, which met in the Parliament House, where officials from the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) briefed members about the case.
The members took strong exception to the reply from Pims Deputy Executive Director Dr Anjum Javed who stated he was oblivious to any developments in the case and had nothing to share except that the accused had been removed from service and was currently out on bail.
After Tiwana asked Dr Javed to narrate a timeline of events in the case, he said that the alleged sexual abuse took place between the night of April 8 and 9, 2016, (Friday- Saturday) in the ICU.
The 20-year-old victim, a resident of Swabi, was paralysed from the neck downwards — said to be suffering from Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a rare immune disorder which causes the immune system to attack the body’s nervous system.
A medical examination of the patient, carried out on the evening of April 11, had shown the assault. He added that the hospital administration traced the suspected male nurse and removed him from service and an FIR was registered against him.
“So it took two days to collect the samples?” Tiwana asked Dr Javed.
The deputy executive director, though, could provide a satisfactory reply, and at the end, he could only muster that he was not in Pims at the time.
To this Tiwana asked whether there was anyone who could properly brief the committee about who was the complainant in the case.
The lawmaker also asked why only one staffer had been removed from service and what punitive action was taken against those who were at the helm of affairs in the hospital at the time.
Virk asked Dr Javed about an update on the FIR and whether Pims was the complainant and whether any further investigations into the case had been undertaken.
Dr Javed though did not have an answer, inviting the ire of committee’s members.
“So it has been over a year and a half and Pims is dragging its feet,” they asked.
“You have to set an example, you cannot just leave the case where the accused is out on bail and the management is functioning smoothly,” Tiwana responded curtly.
Pims Administrator Dr Altaf Hussain then explained the issue.
He admitted to delays in collecting samples.
“We will set up a body to probe why the delays and other lapses took place,” Dr Hussain stated.
That answer, though, did not fully satisfy Tiwana, who said she wanted to know who else was on duty when the assault took place and who was in the top management at the time.
“We have to make this case an example,” she reiterated.
MNA Chaudhary Munir Azhar, who had been squirming in his chair since the committee started debating on the issue, chipped in by saying, “I have seen the FIR and the probe report. There is no evidence [against the suspect] and the accused will not be punished and will walk free.”
He suggested that the government punish Pims administrators.
The hospital’s management was directed to submit a report to the committee at the earliest.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th, 2017.