Saturday, July 16

Doctor’s grave negligence

Crippled youth cries for justice

Amanat Ali’s son Muhammad Tassuwar is undergoing treatment of his amputated left leg at the Mayo Hospital, while he is knocking at the door of every concerned high-up for justice. That seems to be remote as his pleas quite predictably fall on deaf ears.
Reportedly, the amputation of Muhammad Tassuwar (Tassuwar Hussain according to the hospital record) occurred due to the professional incompetence and recklessness on the part of the Mayo Hospital (MH) doctors. Amanat has made applications to all the officials – from the health secretary to the chief minister Punjab – but so far nothing concrete has been done against the concerned doctors and staff alleged to be involved.
According to details, Tassuwar was brought to the Mayo Hospital on June 16 at about 10 pm after he met a road accident and suffered calf injury to his left leg. After giving him initial treatment at the Mian Munshi Hospital, the medical officer on duty there asked his parents to take him to the MH for further treatment. He walked to the emergency for the last time in his life. "My son’s leg was plastered in a cast, in which the doctors left an open ‘window’ through which they could continue to treat the wound in its immediate vicinity. He was discharged at about 2 am the same night, but Tassuwar had intense pain in his leg. Next day, my son’s foot blackened and he could not bear the pain," said Amanat Ali.
Next day, that is, on June 17, Tassuwar was taken to the Mian Munshi Hospital, but the doctor asked them to take him to the MH. He was taken to the operation theatre at about 10 pm and brought out at 6 am the following day. The putrefaction of the flesh had occurred by that time. The whole of the calf flesh was removed and the bone was visible. "It could be primarily due to two reasons: First, vessel injury might have occurred, which went unnoticed and remained untreated by the on-duty doctors. Second and the most plausible one is the tight plaster, which caused the compartment syndrome. The tight bandage actually led to gangrene as well. This mostly happens due to the carelessness of the senior doctors, as they ask their juniors and technicians to do the job. I believe it is all due to the recklessness of the senior doctor. In case of the fibula fracture, casting is usually avoided especially when the patient is young," said an orthopaedic surgeon on condition of anonymity.
On June 22, Tassuwar was told about the impending amputation of his leg the next day, which was done by Ass. Prof. Dr. Sadaqat Ali Khan. Amanat made an application to the Medical Superintendent Dr. Fayyaz Ahmed Ranjha on June 22 condemning the apathy of Dr. Khalid Awan – on-duty MO of emergency during June 16 and 17. But Dr. Ranjha did not take any action. Again Amanat submitted another application (Diary No. 8555) with the MS office, but nothing was done again. He went to the health secretary. On June 25, an ‘Immediate’ letter was addressed to the MS from the health officials with a ‘request for redressal of grievance’ probing the matter and furnishing the report within seven days. Yet, no action.
Dr. Ranjha constituted a committee, headed by Prof. Dr. Iqbal Bhutta, on July 7 to investigate into the matter within two days, but no report was finalised till Wednesday.
"We are investigating into the matter, but I firmly believe that Amanat is working on somebody’s agenda. I don’t think Dr. Khalid Awan has anything to do with this case," said MS Dr. Ranjha. "We want to punish the culprits and acquit the innocent. It is absolutely wrong that no action was taken. I wrote a letter to Amanat on June 25. We are covering all the aspects of the case and we will not stop till the complainant is satisfied with our investigation. I have the MS Mian Munshi Hospital to bring the record. I have to take into consideration both the welfare of the patients and my hospitals’ staff. Sometimes, we do take bitter decisions," he added.
On as to why the Mayo Hospital has cases of gross negligence, Dr. Ranjha told that 78,000 operations are carried out every year. "This percentage is not beyond the international system of ‘standard deviation’. It is not as such a big worry, and we must not start distrusting the system. After my 27 years’ experience in seven districts, and keeping the number of patients at the Mayo, I firmly believe that it is the best hospital of the world," averred Dr. Ranjha.
Additional Medicine Superintendent Accident and Emergency Dr. Manzoor Alam Chaudhry, who is a member of the investigation committee, told that the plaster casting was done in some other hospital. "They approached the Mayo after gangrene had occurred. Dr. Khalid Awan is innocent in this case," he maintained. Dr. Khalid Awan was not available for his comments. According to the record of the Mian Munshi Hospital, on-duty MO Dr. Tehseen said Tassuwar was brought to the hospital, but was referred to the MH as "we do not have plaster casting facility in the evenings. Moreover, we do not plaster patients without admitting them," he said.
On July 8, Amanat dropped an application with the chief minister’s complaint cell. On July 9, Amanat met the Health Secretary, and the latter asked for the report from the MS within three days again. The same day, Dr. Ranjha called Amanat to his office and asked him to withdraw all his applications. He also promised to provide artificial leg for his son apart from free medication.
Till Wednesday, no report was finalised and Amanat was running from door-to-door to seek justice. "I neither want people removed from their service nor do I have any personal grudge against any doctor. I know my son is handicapped for life, but I wish such a thing not to happen again to any other person. Dr. Khalid Awan has impaired my son for life," he said.
"I have become penniless. They are using delaying tactics. I don’t see that justice will be dispensed, as I am a poor man who does not have any relative in the power corridors. If justice is not dispensed, I will immolate myself in front of the governor house," said an inconsolable Amanat. "We fear that they will poison my son, and we are receiving threats from Dr. Khalid Awan," he added.

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