ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for a comprehensive report on the alleged widespread practice of surgically implanting coronary stents into patients that suffer from cardiac diseases, even when they do not need the procedure.

The report was called on a suo motu notice, taken by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, over reports of unnecessary surgical procedures being carried out in public health institutions such as Lahore’s Mayo Hospital and other public-sector hospitals in Punjab. According to the reports, hospitals were either implanting stents in patients – even when the invasive procedure was not required – or in cases that it was necessary, were charging patients exorbitant rates; up to Rs180,000 for each stent.

According to reports on the basis of which the suo motu action was taken, the actual price of these stents is a few thousand rupees.

There were even reports, the Supreme Court announcement said, that not all patients were given the stents, even though they were charged for on account of bogus angioplasty procedures.

CJP seeks report on alleged torture of another minor housemaid

In many cases, according to some media reports, patients’ attendants were not aware of the standard, efficacy, quality or even the warranty of the implants being openly sold by agents of different pharmaceutical companies inside the premises of the cardiac wards in different hospitals.

The attendants had no choice but to trust the advice of doctors, who usually insist on implanting more than one stent.

It is a common practice that representatives or sales agents of pharmaceutical companies selling coronary stents were allowed near the rooms where angiography procedures was carried out.

Consequently, the attendants of the patient being operated upon were referred to the agents by the doctors, usually at the time when the procedure had commenced, giving the attendants very little time to go and buy the product from the open market.

Thus, they were left with no choice but to buy the product at the price being offered by the agent.

The court office will fix the case in the open court when a comprehensive report is furnished by FIA.

Meanwhile, the CJP also took notice of another case of alleged torture on a nine-year old housemaid in Lahore.

This is the second suo motu notice on the torture of adolescent housemaids – a three-judge bench headed by the CJP will resume hearing the Tayyaba torture case on Wednesday.

In this case, the lady of the house is accused of forcing her minor maid’s hand into a fire until her flesh sizzled. Reports suggested that local police had hushed up the case and pressurised the family of the minor to forgive the accused.

Taking cognizance of the issue, the CJP ordered Punjab Inspector General Mushtaq Sukhera to submit a comprehensive report within three days.

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2017