KARACHI: A lady doctor on duty was allegedly assaulted by a male attendant in the presence of other staff members at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital (ASH) on Tuesday, the first day of Eid.
Source said that a patient reported at the ASH on the day with a medical condition that required insertion of a chest tube.
The staff at the medical intensive care unit (ICU) referred the patient to the Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) on the ground that another case with similar condition was already being treated at the hospital and more patients could not be admitted.
Instead of taking the patient to the CHK, the family reportedly went to another health facility which also declined treatment.
According to staff members at the ASH, the family returned to the hospital after sometime, expressing anger over why the family was misguided and the patient was referred to the ‘Ojha campus’.
“When a lady doctor on duty, a postgraduate trainee, tried to explain that the patient was referred to the CHK and not the Ojha campus, a male attendant did not let her speak and thrashed her,” a staff member at the ASH stated, adding that the doctor received minor injuries.
When contacted, the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) confirmed the incident and demanded that the government take immediate notice of the episode, institute an inquiry and punish the culprit.
“This tragic incident once again highlights the challenging conditions caregivers are forced with at our healthcare institutions,” said Dr Abdul Ghafoor Shoro, representing the PMA-Karachi.
The incident also pointed to a lack of health facilities and competent staff at public sector hospitals especially during public holidays, he observed.
“There is a dire need to upgrade facilities at government-run health institutions and ensure that senior staff is available on call during public holidays,” he said, adding that insertion of chest tube required professional handling and the junior staff present at the time of the incident might have refused to offer it due to lack of competence.
“In any case, there is absolutely no justification for violence. One of the prime objectives of setting up the Sindh Health Care Commission was to end patient-staff conflicts at healthcare facilities. But, unfortunately, the commission has made no progress on this front,” he said.