Police arrest 'quack' in Karachi after death of minor girl

Published April 28, 2019
Police say the arrested suspect "does not appear to be a properly qualified MBBS doctor". — APP/File
Police say the arrested suspect "does not appear to be a properly qualified MBBS doctor". — APP/File

Police on Sunday arrested a suspected quack after a minor girl died allegedly after receiving an injection at his clinic in Karachi's Gulshan-i-Iqbal area late on Saturday night.

Gulshan Superintendent of Police Shahnawaz told Dawn that the held suspect and the family both told the police that the girl had been getting treated for pneumonia by the suspect doctor at his clinic located in block 13-D of Gulshan.

The girl's family had taken her to the clinic late Saturday night, where the suspect allegedly administered an injection to her, after which her condition deteriorated, police said.

On the suspect’s advice, the family took the girl to the nearby Al-Mustafa Medical Centre in Gulshan, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

The Gulshan SP said that a post-mortem examination of the girl has been conducted and that her exact cause of death would be determined after results are revealed.

Also read: Infant Nashwa, left paralysed due to alleged medical negligence, passes away at Karachi hospital

"The quack had fled his clinic," SP Shahnawaz said, adding that he was arrested on Sunday after raids were conducted all night to ascertain his whereabouts.

A case "will be registered soon" against the held suspect, he added.

The SP said that as per the family's statement, the girl’s condition was not "serious" when she was brought to the private clinic.

To a question, the officer said that the held suspect "does not appear to be a properly qualified MBBS doctor" and is a "quack type".

Death 'within minutes'

According to the girl's father, who is seen in a video pleading with authorities for justice, the girl was taken to a clinic to seek treatment for cough, flu, and congestion.

The suspect, after questioning the father regarding the girl's symptoms, wrote down a few medicines on his prescription pad and asked him to procure them from a nearby medical store.

"He injected my daughter and her condition deteriorated within moments. The (suspect) doctor had not even withdrawn the syringe from her arm and she began foaming at the mouth," the girl's father said while narrating the sequence of events to the media.

Take a look: My baby would be alive if it wasn't for medical negligence

The father said that the suspect attempted to resuscitate her but then, "when the girl seemed to have already passed away", told him to take her to another hospital.

"We took her to a hospital that was located five minutes away. They took a look at her and told us she had already expired."

Autopsy conducted, cause of death reserved

The girl's body was shifted to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) to fulfil legal formalities.

Police surgeon Dr Qarar Ahmed Abbasi said that Medico-Legal Officer (MLO) Dr Zakia Khurshid conducted her autopsy and reserved her cause of death for a histopathological and chemical examiner’s report.

Dr Abbasi said that as per the police’s report, the girl died at around 10pm on Saturday.

Quoting the investigation officer of the case, Akram Qureshi, the police surgeon revealed that the police were informed about the incident at around 1-1:30am on Sunday.

But the police brought her body at the JPMC for autopsy at around 2pm on Sunday after considerable delay.

The police surgeon denied media reports that the girl’s body was initially taken to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital (ASH).

Special report: Hospital or house of horrors? Negligence, misogyny and silence in the OB-GYN ward

However, the police surgeon admitted that three major hospitals of the city, which deal with medico-legal cases, were facing an acute shortage of female MLOs.

Dr Qarar recalled that the sanctioned strength of the female MLOs even in the 1990s was nine but at present only four female doctors were dealing with post-mortem examinations.

The police surgeon suggested that three major hospitals, namely ASH, Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi and the JPMC needed at least 15 female MLOs to deal with growing cases of autopsy in the city.

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