SHC seeks record of negligent healthcare set-ups, action taken against them

Updated May 03, 2019

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The bench observed that sealing a hospital is not a solution to the matter. ─ AFP/File
The bench observed that sealing a hospital is not a solution to the matter. ─ AFP/File

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Thursday directed the chairman of the Sindh Health Care Commission (SHCC) to appear before it with the relevant record on May 9 in response to a petition seeking action against the healthcare establishments found guilty of medical negligence.

When the petition about the death of several patients, including nine-month-old Nashwa, owing to alleged medical negligence came up for hearing before the two-judge SHC bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar, the court inquired what action had been taken by the commission over the death of the infant girl.

A deputy secretary for health contended that the commission had sealed the private hospital.

The bench observed that sealing a hospital was not a solution to the matter. The court further said that besides the case in question, it was also seeking the overall performance of the commission, asking how many hospitals the SHCC had inspected and what action had been taken if there was any violation of law.

Home secretary told to help police grill Uzair Baloch over killing of four missing persons

The court further said that the Sindh Healthcare Commission Act was passed in 2013 and the commission was established in 2018 and sought a report about the implementation of the law.

The bench directed the chairman of the SHCC to appear before it with the complete record and performance report on May 9.

Jaffer Raza and Asad Iftikhar moved the SHC and contended that several patients, including Nashwa, had died because of alleged medical negligence on the part of private healthcare institutions.

Impleading the secretary for the federal ministry of health, provincial health secretary, Pakistan Medical and Dental Council and SHCC as respondents, the petitioners argued that unlike the case of Nashwa, which gained media attention, many other such cases went unreported and every aggrieved person did not have the means to approach court.

Weak laws, weaker implementation

They maintained that medical negligence at such a regular frequency only indicated that such issues were rampant in society and could only be attributed to weak laws and even weaker implementation.

The petitioners further contended that there were countless instances of medical negligence where people had lost their lives because of improper treatment and those very medical practitioners continued risking the lives of many more as there was no proper system of check and balance.

Uzair’s questioning

Another bench of the SHC on Thursday directed the provincial home secretary to provide assistance to the police to grill alleged Lyari gangster Uzair Jan Baloch for alleged murder of four missing persons.

In the last hearing, police submitted that all the four persons, who reportedly went missing in 2010 near the central prison, had been killed by Uzair Baloch and his accomplices and he had admitted it during his confessional statement recorded by a judicial magistrate and police sought time to investigate Uzair in that matter.

When the matter was taken up for hearing by the two-judge SHC bench headed by Justice Niamatullah Phulpoto on Thursday, a senior superintendent of police sought more time to question the alleged gangster.

The SSP said that since Uzair was in the custody of military authorities, a letter in that regard had been sent to the home secretary for help. The bench directed the home secretary to provide the required assistance to the police so that Uzair could be interrogated by them in the present case or else the home secretary would appear in person.

Published in Dawn, May 3rd, 2019