By: Ikram Junaidi
ISLAMABAD: State Minister Dr Tariq Fazal on Tuesday visited the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, rocked by a rape scandal, and said “it seems that, at least, rape was attempted” in the hospital.
Dr Fazal told reporters that an internal inquiry covered all aspects of the reported rape of a 20-year-old patient in the Intensive Care Unit of Pims. “Medical examinations have been conducted and statements of the Pims staff, the victim and her parents have been recorded,” he said.
“But the inquiry is not finished, it is continuing and it has been decided to suspend all the staff of ICU and ensure a secure environment in the hospital in the future.”
Because of the incident, a high-level officer of the CADD-run hospital can be sacked, the minister indicated.
Vice Chancellor Pims Dr Javed Akram told Dawn that the suspect, who got married just two weeks ago, was arrested from the village of his in-laws and brought to Islamabad.
“The facts will come to light during the investigation, but I don’t see why a paralysed patient would level an allegation without any reason,” he said.
Dawn has learned that the Pims’ three-member inquiry committee found no witness and “conclusive evidence” to the charge.
However, a doctor of the hospital, not authorised to speak on the record, said the uproar over the reported incident would require hospital administrators to frame new guidelines for the care and safety of vulnerable patients.
“As there was no witness and circumstantial evidence, the inquiry committee will have to depend on the results of the chemical/forensic exam of samples in Lahore to reach a conclusion,” he said.
“How one can imagine a paralysed patient being raped in a hospital bed?” he said in a choked voice “CCTV cameras are not practical in such places as those will compromise the privacy of the patients. Medical ethics are there but unfortunately the community has stopped following them,” he added.
Apart from the suspect male nurse, he said, four other hospital staff members were on duty in the ICU. Of them, a doctor, a sanitary worker and a ward boy were not present as they were sleeping somewhere else.
“Inside the ICU, only the male suspect and a female nurse were present. Unfortunately, the female nurse also fell asleep between 1am and 3am and she did not see anything,” he said.
“New Standard Operating Procedures have to be devised for the healthcare system. We don’t allow attendants in ICU to void the danger of infection,” he said.
The patient was suffering from the Guillain-Barré (GB) Syndrome and last week she was admitted to the Surgical Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
GB syndrome is the disease in which a virus attacks the spinal cord and the person affected with it is paralysed. Sometimes paralysis starts from legs and travels towards the upper part of the body and sometimes it starts from upper part of the body and travels towards legs.