KARACHI: A new trend is on the rise in public hospitals - patients and their attendants are losing control and turning on the very people who treat them.
The latest incident took place at the Sobhraj Maternity Hospital where female doctors were beaten up by a patient’s attendants. “Manhandling a lady doctor is totally unacceptable,” said Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) Sindh president Dr Samrina Hashmi at a press conference with the city district government-run hospital on Thursday. Hashmi added that they had never supported the decision to shut down the emergency services at the hospital.
The PMA claimed that the patient, whose attendants have been accused, was in the seventh month of her pregnancy and had suffered from a cord proplapse in which the umbilical cord gets caught between the vaginal wall and the fetal head. The cord cuts off the oxygen and blood supplies to the baby. As a result of the prolapse, the patient delivered a still-born child.
After the child’s burial, relatives of the patient returned to the hospital and physically assaulted the on-duty female doctors. Reports show that they had also tried to abduct the doctors. Hashmi claimed that the men had grabbed the women viciously and had pulled their hair.
The Sindh Assembly deputy speaker visited the hospital and the EDO health arranged for four security guards to monitor the place day and night.
The hospital’s superintendent, Dr Anwar Ali Khawaja, and representatives from the city government hope to resolve the case without involving the police and registering an FIR. He told The Express Tribune that considering the situation in the city it was important to wrap up the issue as soon as possible. “The accused have apologised and assured us that the incident would not be repeated,” he said. “The doctors do not want to get involved in legal proceedings and just want proper security arrangement which we are trying to provide.”
The medical fraternity fears there will be severe repercussions if the situation and staff safety are not given due importance. “As it is, most of our doctors are moving abroad because of the security situation in the country and now if our female doctors, who make up nearly 80% of medical graduates, are treated in such a manner then their families will not allow them to study or work,” said Hashmi.
The PMA has given the government 10 days to take action against the patient’s relatives. The medical association demanded that the patient’s relative should be put behind the bars for two years and be fined Rs500,000
Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2011.