Sindh cabinet approves law to provide treatment to injured persons without following MLO formalities

October 23, 2019

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10-year-old Amal Umer passed away after a private hospital refused to treat her bullet injuries. — Photo by Beenish Umer/File
10-year-old Amal Umer passed away after a private hospital refused to treat her bullet injuries. — Photo by Beenish Umer/File

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Wednesday approved the rules of the Sindh Injured Persons Compulsory Medical Treatment (Amal Umer) Act 2019, under which hospitals are bound to provide immediate treatment to any injured person without "complying with medico-legal formalities".

"A private hospital wasted 40 minutes of a child's life due to medico-legal formalities," Chief Minister Shah noted, addressing 10-year-old's Amal Umer's death in today's provincial cabinet meeting.

"We have to put a stop to this, we cannot allow anyone to [jeopardise] someone's life for medico-legal formalities."

Shah added that the Sindh government will also set up a fund for the treatment of injured people.

The law, passed by the Sindh Assembly in the aftermath of the death of Amal Umer, makes it compulsory for hospitals, both private and government, to provide treatment to any injured person "without any delay, on a priority basis, without complying with medico-legal formalities or demanding payment prior to the administering of compulsory medical treatment".

Under the law, police will not be allowed to "interrupt or interfere" until the person is deemed out of danger. Doctors will also not be bound to obtain consent of relatives while providing compulsory treatment.

Last year, Amal had suffered bullet wounds during an exchange of fire between policemen and robbers during an 'encounter' in Karachi. According to her mother, she was taken to the National Medical Centre where the minor girl was denied treatment and the family was told to take her either to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre or to Aga Khan University Hospital. Umar passed away due to the delay in treatment.

Her death had sparked public anger and questions were raised over police performance as well as the negligence of hospitals in such cases.

Transgender representation

The chief minister also approved a 0.5 per cent job quota for transgender persons in all government departments, saying that he wants to "bring the transgender community into the mainstream" and turn them into "productive citizens".

He directed transgender persons to ensure that they have all relevant documents before applying for jobs. He also urged them to "focus on education".

Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab, in a press conference held after the cabinet meeting, pointed out that earlier this year, the provincial government had reserved a job quota of 0.5pc for transgender persons in the police department only. The same quota will now be reserved for members of the transgender community in every government department.