Doctor succumbs to Covid-19 in Karachi after inability to find ventilator

Published May 4, 2020
Dr Furqan was a heart patient and was facing breathing difficulties, says Dr Qaiser Sajjad. — Reuters/FIle
Dr Furqan was a heart patient and was facing breathing difficulties, says Dr Qaiser Sajjad. — Reuters/FIle

A medical doctor passed away on Sunday morning due to the coronavirus in Karachi, according to Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) Secretary General Dr Qaiser Sajjad.

Dr Furqanul Haq — who had recently retired from the Karachi Institute of Heart Diseases — is the third member of the medical fraternity in Karachi to have fallen victim to the disease. He was, however, not actively engaged in the treatment of Covid-19 patients.

According to Dr Sajjad, the deceased needed to be put on a ventilator but could not find the facility despite visiting several hospitals.

Also read: ‘Stay at home, if not for yourselves, then for the medics on the frontlines,’ plead female doctors

"He had tested positive for the virus around four days ago and had self-isolated at home. But because he had heart troubles, he started having difficulty in breathing from Saturday," the PMA office-bearer said, adding that the wife of the deceased had also tested positive.

Dr Haq tried to get himself admitted to any of the isolation wards but was unable to receive medical treatment, he added.

"If a doctor in the country's biggest city cannot be given a ventilator then what will happen to common citizens?" Dr Sajjad questioned.

When asked if the Sindh government was facing a shortage of ventilators, Media Coordinator to the Health and Population Welfare Minister Meeran Yousuf said: "Ventilators and beds were available at CHK and JPMC. We’ve, however, initiated an inquiry [into] it."

Previously, Dr Abdul Qadir Soomro and gynecologist, Dr Zubaida Sattar had passed away in Karachi after contracting the virus.

Dr Sajjad said that doctors have repeatedly warned the government that the country's healthcare system will collapse if a strict lockdown is not imposed to curb the spread of the virus.

Doctors across the country have complained that the medical community was not being provided with personal protective equipment, making them vulnerable to the virus. They have also urged the government to impose a strict lockdown, saying that if not controlled, the healthcare system will not even have enough beds to accommodate all patients.

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