LHC calls for strict healthcare licensing regulation

Woman's paralysis after childbirth sparks critical review of healthcare standards

Rana Yasif November 01, 2023
In a file photo, a healthcare professional prepares a dose of the Pfizer vaccine as high-risk workers receive the first vaccines in the state of Victoria's rollout of the program, in Melbourne, Australia. PHOTO: REUTERS


The Lahore High Court (LHC) has issued directives to the Punjab government and the Punjab Healthcare Commission (PHC) to establish a clear timeline for healthcare establishments to transition from provisional licences to regular licences.

This directive follows a case in which a female petitioner experienced severe complications during childbirth at Prime Care Hospital, Faisalabad.

The petitioner, Fareeha Kanwal, initially sought care at Prime Care Hospital with the expectation of a routine delivery. However, following her operation, she woke up to discover that the lower part of her body was paralysed, and she had lost control over her urine and stool functions.

In response, she filed a complaint with the PHC, alleging medical negligence, maladministration, and malpractice on the part of the hospital and its medical staff.

After extensive investigations and consultations with medical experts, the PHC found that the Consultant Gynaecologist’s decision to perform a Caesarean section (C-section) on the petitioner was justified. Nevertheless, the exact cause of her severe Radiculopathy-Plexopathy condition could not be conclusively determined based on the available clinical notes.

The petitioner contended that certain records had been removed or tampered with, possibly to shield the medical professionals involved from legal and criminal liability.

She argued that this act constituted an offense under Section 201 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and called for the PHC to initiate legal action by directing the registration of a First Information Report (FIR).

In her appeal, the petitioner also raised concerns about the exoneration of one of the respondents and the failure to declare the doctors guilty of medical negligence.

She further argued that the fine imposed on the hospital was inadequate in light of the severity of the offense and should be increased from Rs300,000 to Rs500,000.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 1st, 2023.


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