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Infant Nashwa's death: Hospital OPD sealed in Karachi over allegation of medical malpractice

Updated April 24, 2019

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Nashwa had suffered health complications after alleged intravenous overdose of potassium chloride. — DawnNewsTV/File
Nashwa had suffered health complications after alleged intravenous overdose of potassium chloride. — DawnNewsTV/File

Sindh Health Care Commission (SHCC) on Wednesday sealed Darul Sehat Hospital's out-patient department (OPD) after Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah assured the families of nine-month-old Nashwa and a 24-year-old woman — both of whom died recently due to alleged medical malpractice — that action will be taken against hospitals responsible for their "inefficiency and criminal negligence".

“We have sealed all [their] OPDs, and imposed a ban on new admission of patients,” said SHCC chairman Dr Tipu Sultan. "However, the patients already admitted will continue to receive their treatment there."

The development ensued after the chief minister paid a condolence visit to Nashwa's family and told her father "I am really sorry that despite our serious efforts we could not save Nashwa... we all know she can’t return now but what we have to do is to ensure that no such incidents take place again."

Shah expressed his "dissatisfaction" with the findings of a report furnished by the Sindh Health Care Commission (SHCC) on Nashwa's death, adding that "the health minister also has her reservations against it."

Shah quoted the report as saying that "about 50 per cent of the hospital staff was untrained" and termed it a "serious matter that cannot be tolerated".

The minister said that he has instructed the city's commissioner to conduct an audit of all private hospitals and ascertain if the staff hired for "technical work" was trained or not. The commissioner has also been directed to find out how many of the cases, taken in by the hospitals, were handed over to untrained professionals, Shah said.

“This is not a question of influential or privileged people," the chief minister said, adding that "the law will take its own course."

The deceased's family complained that the doctors nominated in the FIR have not yet been arrested. They further said that one of the suspects had appeared on news channels and defended himself while hurling accusations against the victim and her family. At this, Shah regretted that news channels were inviting "controversial people" on their shows.

It is pertinent to mention here that the SHCC report alleged that a nursing assistant at Darul Sehat hospital had administered an overdose of potassium chloride and that too not via a drip. It also stated that around 70 out of 165 nurses at the hospital were untrained. It recommended that disciplinary action be taken against nursing assistant Moiz and female doctor Dr Sobia — both of whom are under arrest.

The SHCC, in its report, had termed Nashwa's death “an act of grave negligence by the duty nursing staff”, and recommended that a fine of Rs500,000 be imposed on the hospital as per the rules.

Infant Nashwa was left paralysed earlier this month after she was allegedly injected with the wrong dosage of a solution at Karachi's Darul Sehat Hospital. She passed away on Monday.

The chief minister also visited the family of a 24-year-old woman who died after she was administered the “wrong solution" at a hospital in Korangi No 5, where the victim had gone to seek treatment for a gum infection. The deceased patient's family also alleged that she had been raped before being killed by the hospital staff, although the relevant Section for the alleged crime has not yet been added to the FIR.

Meanwhile, investigators have collected DNA samples of the two doctors in connection with the case, officials said today.

ENT surgeon, Dr Ayaz Abbasi — one of the suspects who had obtained protective bail from a local court — was brought in by Ibrahim Hyderi police on Tuesday to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) to fulfill legal formalities.

Another suspect named Dr Shakeel also had his DNA samples taken, a senior police officer said, adding that "so far samples of five have been collected."