A sanitary worker who fell unconscious while cleaning a drain lost his life after doctors at Civil Hospital Umerkot allegedly refused to treat him until his body was washed.

Thirty-year-old Irfan and his three fellow workers had stepped down into a manhole at Chhore Road Friday for a routine inspection when they fainted due to suffocation, the victim's brother, Parvez, told Dawn.

All four workers were rushed to Civil Hospital Umerkot, where doctors told the patient's attendants to wash his body before they would begin treatment.

Speaking to Dawn, Parvez said the doctors on duty persistently refused to provide Irfan with the necessary treatment until his body was washed.

"My brother died during the process of cleansing the filth from his body," he added, insisting that had his brother been given treatment in a timely manner, he could have been saved.

The other three workers were shifted to Karachi for further treatment.

Infuriated workers of the local municipality and a large number of people from the Christian community in Umerkot took Irfan's body and staged a demonstration outside the local press club, where they protested against the local administration and hospital for wasting the worker's life.

People protesting Irfan's death.─Photo by author.
People protesting Irfan's death.─Photo by author.

Umerkot police, on the complaint of the victim's father, Nazeer Maseeh, registered an FIR against six suspects, including three doctors.

Police have said they are conducting raids to arrest the accused.