Hospital owner, key officials acquitted in Nashwa death case

Updated October 22, 2019

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A court has exonerated a private hospital’s owner and chairman, vice chairman and executive director of the charges of negligence that allegedly led to the death of Nashwa, a nine-month-old girl. — DawnNewsTV/File
A court has exonerated a private hospital’s owner and chairman, vice chairman and executive director of the charges of negligence that allegedly led to the death of Nashwa, a nine-month-old girl. — DawnNewsTV/File

KARACHI: A court has exonerated a private hospital’s owner and chairman, vice chairman and executive director of the charges of negligence that allegedly led to the death of Nashwa, a nine-month-old girl.

Darul Sehat Hospital’s chairman Amir Waliuddin Chishti, vice chairman Syed Ali Farhan and executive director Shahzad Alam were charged, among several administration and medical staffers, for alleged improper treatment of the infant that led to her death on April 7.

District and sessions’ judge (East) Khalid Hussain Shahani pronounced his verdict reserved earlier on the acquittal applications moved by the owner and two key administration officials of the private health facility.

The judge wrote in the order that Section 265-D of the Criminal Procedure Code provided that if after pursuing a police report, or as the case may be, the complaint and all other documents and statements filed by the prosecution, the court was of the opinion that there was ground for proceeding with the trial of the accused, it should frame in writing a charge against the accused.

The judge further wrote that from the perusal of the present case it transpired that after the usual investigation, a report was filed against Sobia and Moiz by placing their names in Column 2 of the charge sheet. However, the judicial magistrate concerned being not satisfied with the report took cognizance against the accused persons.

The nine-month-old girl had died allegedly because of the suspects’ negligence

Referring to the contents of the FIR, the judge noted that due to the negligent act of the accused nursing staffers, Sobia and Moiz, the KCL injection was administered directly through vein to the baby instead of through a drip. As a result, baby Nashwa turned blue and suffered from breathlessness. She was shifted to the intensive care unit (ICU) after being given CPR for 45 minutes, kept on the ventilator and subsequently was removed from it on April 12. Thereafter she became paralysed and finally expired, he added.

Judge Shahani wrote that he was convinced by the arguments advanced by defence counsel Shaukat Hayat that the suspects — Mr Chishti, Mr Farhan and Mr Alam — were victims of the media, as the matter made headlines in the electronic media, or else during the investigation, no cogent evidence was found against them with regard to negligence.

He added that it was also apparent from the order dated May 28 passed by the judicial magistrate taking cognizance against the said accused persons that a settlement was reached between the parties.

Accordingly, the administration of the Darul Sehat Hospital shall build a paediatric intensive care unit in the name of Nashwa and also provide scholarship in her name and allocate Rs5 million annually in the name of Nashwa Fund for treatment of the needy and poor patients, the judge added.

In response to the court’s notice for arguments that why the private health facility’s owner and two key officials should not be acquitted, the state prosecutor after going through the case record also said he had no objection to allowing the acquittal application of the suspects.

“Therefore, I am of the considered view that if trial against those accused is commenced, there is no probability of them to be convicted for the alleged offence. Accordingly, they are acquitted under Section 265-K of the CrPC”, ruled the judge and cancelled the bail applications of the three suspects.

However, the court framed the charge against the two nursing staffers and summoned the prosecution witnesses to record their testimonies on Oct 30.

On May 29, judicial magistrate (East) Niaz Hussain had rejected the investigating officer’s recommendation to discharge 11 key administration and medical officials of the hospital in the present case, saying that the child’s father had reached a compromise with them out of court while during investigation no evidence was found to hold them responsible for the negligence that caused her death.

Indictment deferred

The indictment of an alleged prime suspect in a case pertaining to the murder of a TV anchor and another person was deferred on Monday owing to the absence of the judge, said the lawyers.

Police arrested Atif Zaman for allegedly killing his two business partners — TV anchor Mureed Abbas and Khizar Hayat — in Khayaban-i-Bukhari, Defence, over a financial dispute on the night of July 9.

On Monday, the matter was fixed before District and Sessions Judge Amjad Ali Bohio for indictment, when suspect Zaman was produced from prison. On Oct 7, the judge had fixed the matter for indictment of Atif Zaman.

The case involving an alleged shady investment scam of billions of rupees had been moving back and forth since the police detained the suspect. Two cases were registered against Zaman at the Darakhshan police station, one under Section 302 (premeditated murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 of the ATA, 1997, on a complaint of the anchor’s widow, and the other for attempted suicide on behalf of the state. Separately, police also registered an arms case against him.

Later, police also arrested the suspect’s brother Adil Zaman.

Published in Dawn, October 22nd, 2019