The Sindh Government formed a committee late Monday night to probe the circumstances that lead to the death of Dr Furqanul Haq – the third member of the medical fraternity in Karachi to have fallen victim to the coronavirus – after it was initially alleged he had died because he could not be provided a ventilator in time.
Sindh Government Spokesman Senator Murtaza Wahab confrmed the development on Twitter last night, saying a committee had been formed to investigate the matter and will submit its report "within 24 hours".
Dr Furqanul Haq — who had recently retired from the Karachi Institute of Heart Diseases — was not actively engaged in the treatment of Covid-19 patients.
According to Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) Secretary General Dr Qaiser Sajjad, Dr Haq died on Sunday after he needed to be put on a ventilator but could not find the facility despite visiting several hospitals in the city.
When asked if the Sindh government was facing a shortage of ventilators, Media Coordinator to the Health and Population Welfare Minister Meeran Yousuf had said yesterday that ventilators and beds were available at CHK and JPMC. "However, we’ve initiated an inquiry [into the matter]," she said.
On the other hand, Indus Hospital CEO Dr Abdul Bari claimed Dr Haq had delayed medical treatment because of the social stigma associated with contracting the coronavirus.
Speaking on Geo News during the show Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath on Monday night, Dr Bari said: "His niece works at our hospital [Indus Hospital] and she had insisted he get himself admitted but he had refused, thinking that the news of his diagnosis would spread in the neighbourhood."
Dr Bari confirmed that the deceased did not visit Indus Hospital.
In a statement, the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SUIT) also denied that Dr Haq visited the hospital. "SIUT has conducted a thorough internal inquiry. There is no evidence of Dr Haq’s entry in emergency services of SIUT," the statement read.
According to data from April 30, at least eight healthcare workers have died from the coronavirus so far in Pakistan. The first known Covid-19 fatality among the local medical community occurred in Gilgit Baltistan when a young doctor, Usama Riaz, succumbed to the disease in March.
Early last month, Dr Abdul Qadir Soomro from Sindh became the province's first Covid-19 fatality from the medical community.
According to the report, three healthcare workers have died from the virus in Sindh, two in Gilgit Baltistan and one each in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Islamabad.