SAHIWAL: A prayer leader and Quran teacher died of kidney failure after the dialysis centres of Chichawatni THQ and Sahiwal DHQ Teaching hospitals allegedly refused to admit him before he tested negative for coronavirus.

Muhammad Azim, a resident of Chichawatni Saddar Bazaar, was a prayer leader and Quran teacher at Madressa Darul Uloom Ghosia Rizwiya in Chichawatni. He was a kidney patient for 18 months and had been advised dialysis after every 60 days. He used to get the procedure done at the Chichawatni THQ and Sahiwal DHQ Teaching hospitals where it was conducted on subsidised rates for the needy at Rs3,000 to Rs4,000.

Azim’s family claimed that he had delayed his last dialysis because of the lockdown. On Sunday, his condition deteriorated due to urine blockage and his wife took him to the THQ hospital. But the doctors refused to admit him despite looking at his 18-month medical history on the plea that the new standard operating procedures required a negative test report for coronavirus before a regular patient was admitted.

Azim’s wife told Dawn that no laboratory in Chichawatni had the facility to test for coronavirus and even if they had taken him to Lahore, it would have taken at least two days to get the results. The family tried to convince doctors, but none agreed. Instead, they advised the family to go to Haji Abdul Qayyum Hospital in Sahiwal.

They took Azim to the Sahiwal DHQ hospital, but its doctors also refused over the same pretext and advised them to take him to Haji Qayyum hospital for the coronavirus test. “During all this, my husband’s condition started deteriorating,” Azim’s wife said, adding that they took him to a private doctor, but he also refused to admit him.

They took him back to the THQ hospital on Monday morning, but were refused again after which Azim died.

THQ hospital dialysis centre in-charge Dr Ali, while talking to Dawn, admitted that Azim was brought to the hospital on Sunday morning, but had severe cough and 104 fever. The pulmonologist suggested he first get himself tested for coronavirus. He said the family was told several times to take Azim to the Haji Qayyum hospital where suspected patients of coronavirus were referred from the whole district.

“But the family took him to the DHQ hospital, which complicated his condition,” Dr Ali said.

Azim’s wife has demanded an inquiry from the chief minister and the health minister.

Published in Dawn, June 18th, 2020

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