FAISALABAD: The Punjab Healthcare Commission (PHC) has moved against a professor of surgery, who is also the former head of the Orthopaedic Department of Allied Hospital, recommending the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) to cancel his registration.

It has imposed Rs100,000 fine on Allied Hospital. However, it has not recommended criminal action against the surgeon.

Prof Rasool Chaudhry of the Punjab Medical College (PMC) has been found guilty of performing a wrong operation on a BSc student of the University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Maryam Sajjad, on Dec 17, 2012. The surgery has paralysed the girl who is bedridden now as lower half of her body is not functioning properly.

Sajjad Anwar, father of ill-fated Maryam, had submitted complaints to the chief minister, board of management of the PMC and Allied Hospital and the Punjab Healthcare Commission.

The commission conducted an inquiry into the matter. After the inquiry, the commission asked the Healthcare Establishment (Allied Hospital) to pay Rs100,000 fine for committing negligence, its failure to ensure communication with the patient and her family about the complications of the surgery and not obtaining their consent in this regard.

In its findings, the commission said: “It is strongly recommended to the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council to consider the removal of the name of Dr Rasool A Chaudhry from the register(s) maintained by it. The case of the doctor be referred to the Health Department, government of Punjab, to take disciplinary action against him in view of his negligence/misconduct/inefficiency while considering suspending all proceedings on process of his retirement case until the final outcome of the disciplinary proceedings. The Punjab government or the competent authority, as the case may be, may consider confiscation of all or any of the post-retirement monetary benefits due to Dr Chaudhry in order to compensate the patient for further management of her morbidity.”

The commission also asked the Allied Hospital to immediately ensure the implementation of the minimum service delivery standards already provided by it. The health department, government of Punjab might make efforts to ensure that the patient was adequately compensated monetarily and all possible medical treatment was available to her, free of cost, within the country, it said.

Referring to the board constituted by the PMC, the healthcare commission said the board was also of the opinion that the Allied Hospital and Prof Rasool Chaudhry were responsible for what went wrong with Maryam.

For referring a case to a government authority or to a law enforcing agency under subsection (2) of Section 26 of the Act, it was imperative that the matter squarely involved the owner, manager or in-charge of the healthcare establishment, which was not the case here although negligence was of a serious nature. However, no criminal action was required against Dr Chaudhry. It said the experts had also referred to the same as, 'incompetence', 'misjudgment', and 'surgical error' while there was contradiction in the stance of the complainant on the point whether the surgeon’s action was intentional or not. In these circumstances and also in view of the directions being issued by the board, it would not be fit to refer the matter to police for a criminal action.

Just a few days after the surgery, Maryam had complained of some movement problems. The family got her checked again and a neurosurgeon, Dr Tariq Ahmed, of the Allied Hospital had suggested the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that was followed accordingly. After the MRI report, the doctor informed the family that operation had damaged two vertebras and spinal cord of the girl.

Earlier, a three-member special medical board of the PMC had also declared the surgery of the girl wrong.

The Board of Management of the PMC had constituted the board, comprising Prof of Surgery Dr Shahzad Awais, Prof of Neurosurgery Dr Tariq Ahmed and neuro physician Dr Javed Iqbal.