Wounded man turned away from four Karachi hospitals dies

Arif Hashim lost his life after suffering serious head injuries in a road accident along Shahra-e-Pakistan. The 22-year-old was denied treatments from four different hospitals.

“Sambros Hospital returned us from the gate, telling us to take the patient to somewhere else,” said men who carried Arif from one hospital to another. “We then took him to Ziauddin Hospital, Nazimabad. They gave him the first aid and asked us to take him to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.”

The CT scan facility was not available at Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, and the neurosurgery department had been non-functional for the past several months, so the staff at the hospital referred the patient to the Jinnah Post-graduate Medical Center.

According to the Edhi ambulance driver, JPMC officials refused to accept the wounded man due to him being an “unknown case”. Arif was again taken back to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries after six hours.

However, JPMC Director Dr Shahid Rasool claims “The receptionist [at the JPMC] had told the driver about the policy and asked him to consult officials in the emergency first but he rushed back to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.”

Investigating the incident, he said, we have checked the CCTV footage which confirmed that the ambulance driver left the hospital from the reception.

“The inquiry committee comprising senior medical officers has recommended taking serious legal and departmental action against the in-charges of the emergencies of both ASH and the JPMC and sacking of the entire teams of both emergency departments,” said the director.

The inquiry was now with Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho for consideration and action.

The director has put forward a recommendation following the negligence in Arif’s case. Proper SOPs for referrals should be formed and the hospital expected to take the patient should be informed, he said.

Hospitals should also be instructed to send a doctor along with the critical patients in such cases, he added.

In March 2019, the Government of Sindh approved the Sindh Injured Persons Compulsory Medical Treatment (Amal Umer) Act, 2019. Under the law, all hospitals are bound to provide compulsory medical treatment to injured persons immediately, without demanding any payment.

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