THIS is with reference to the report ‘Five die, 13 hurt as burning oil falls from PMT in Hyderabad’ (July 24). Three of the injured later succumbed to their injuries, and the toll is likely to go higher as most of the remaining injured have 45 to 100 per cent body burns. The incident happened after the spilling of burning oil onto the people from a PMT which was being repaired by the technical staff of the Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco). This is as regrettable as it is unacceptable.

The Sindh chapter of Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) wants to point out serious negligence on the part of Hesco management. The staff and technicians working on the site were apparently untrained because a similar incident in Hyderabad had taken the lives of three children on June 18. The Hesco management seems to have ignored any lesson it might have learnt from the earlier episode, and this does not bode well for the future.

Besides, all the injured were initially shifted to the Liaquat University Hospital (LUH) from where all of them had to be shifted to Karachi because, first, there were no facilities to handle the situation at LUH, and, second, the doctors were not present on duty. PMA Sindh finds it a case of criminal negligence on the part of the LUH administration and the doctors who were supposed to be available at the time.

LUH is an affiliated hospital of a reputable university of the second largest city of the province. How long Karachi, an already overpopulated and overburdened city, will take care of these situations? LUH has a massive budget at its disposal, has reputable doctors and professors on its roll, and there must be no dearth of qualified staff in every department. That being so, why are the services not provided when they are needed the most? One cannot think of any reason other than mismanagement and lack of discipline on the premises.

The provincial government needs to analyse the situation with due seriousness and take appropriate action without any delay. There shall, in fact, be a judicial inquiry into the Hyderabad incident, and those found responsible both at Hesco and LUH must be brought to justice.

Dr Mirza Ali Azhar
President, PMA Sindh
Karachi

Published in Dawn, July 30th, 2021

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