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SHC summons health secretary over medical negligence case

KARACHI: The details on the medical board’s meetings were recently sought by the Sindh High Court. The medical board was formed over the alleged negligence of doctors at a private hospital, Razia Medical Centre (RMC) leading to the amputation of the arm of a 12-year-old boy, Hamza Rehan. The court also summoned the health secretary on the matter. The directives were issued by a two-member bench, comprising Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Yousuf Ali Sayeed. The plea forwarded by Rehan’s father stated that boy’s arm had to be amputated after he was administered the wrong injection.

The deputy advocate general informed the court that the Sindh Health Care Commission (SHCC) had imposed a fine of Rs500,000 on the hospital for medical negligence. The court, however, inquired whether the license of the delinquent doctor had been suspended by SHCC or not. At this, the deputy advocate general replied that no doctor had been fined so far. At this, the court asked about the findings of the inquiry conducted by the SHCC into the matter, asking what led to the amputation of the boy’s arm.

In its report submitted to the court, the SHCC identified reaction to an injection as the probable cause of the amputation. The report states that the boy had contracted a fever following which he was administered an injection at the hospital. However, he had to be later shifted to Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital, Karachi (CHK) after he complained of pain in his arm, the report elaborates, adding that his arm was amputated after a surgery at CHK.  The public prosecutor maintained that it takes more than 24 hours for gangrene to develop.

The court also inquired about the money collected on account of the fine. An SHCC official informed the court that it was deposited in the provincial government’s account. Then who will compensate for the loss of the affected child, wondered the court.

Later, pointing out that the “inquiry conducted by SHCC was incomplete,” the public prosecutor contended that while the hospital was fined, no doctors responsible for the negligence were identified. Rehan’s father lamented before the court that the police had even refused to register an FIR of the incident.

The chief medical officer informed that court that instead a medical board, formed on the instructions of Sindh government, was carrying out an inquiry and separately, Sindh Services Hospital’s medical board too has issued a report on the matter. The report concludes that negligence on part of RMC couldn’t be proved, he said.

The court commented that all the doctors included in the board were incompetent.

Seeking RMC’s reply on the matter, the court ordered that details about the facilities available at the hospital, its doctors and other staff be presented at the next hearing. It also summoned the doctor who treated Rehan and all doctors constituting the medical board. Moreover, it directed that details of meeting called by the medical board on the matter be presented to the court at the next hearing and ordered that the health secretary too appeared before the court on that day.

January 20, 2020

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