BAHAWALNAGAR: The sessions court on Tuesday suspended the order of the civil court to arrest a woman doctor if she failed to pay the Rs8.4 million fine for performing a surgery without having the license of a gynecologist, which led not only to the death of the newborn but also damaged the mother’s kidney.

As per details, Muhammad Abbas of Mohallah Farooqabad, a labourer by profession, in his writ petition filed before the civil court on June 14, 2021, alleged that in absence of a surgeon at the DHQ Hospital, Dr Saba Khalid, who did not have license of a gynecologist, forced him to shift his pregnant wife to her private hospital (Ata Medical Complex ) on June 29, 2014. The petitioner alleged that the two-hour long botched surgery resulted in the death of his newborn child and damage to the kidney of his wife.

On Jan 26, Senior Civil Judge Aamir Manzoor convicted Dr Saba. He ordered her to pay Rs8.6m fine to the victim, directing the authorities to arrest her if she failed to pay the fine until Jan 31.

The 27 pages long judgment said the doctor was an MBBS degree holder and was performing major surgeries at her private hospital without the requisite qualification and facility. It held her guilty of criminal negligence and asked her to pay Rs4.3m and Rs2.1m as Diyat for two offences besides Rs2.1m fine under another charge.

However, on Tuesday, the order was suspended by the sessions court on an appeal against the order, said Rana Khurram Javed, the counsel for Dr Saba.

He told Dawn that the civil court was not authorised to hear this case because it was a sessions court trial. He said earlier, the sessions court had rejected the complaint’s plea, saying that the matter was under the jurisdiction of the Punjab Healthcare Commission (PHC).

He claimed that on the complaint of Abbas, a commission of the Pakistan Medical Dental Council (PMDC) inquired into the matter and sent its findings to the PHC, adding the PHC had declared the doctor not responsible for the death of the newborn.

The report said the patient’s condition had already deteriorated because she was treated by a midwife (Dai) before she was admitted to the hospital, he claimed.

Published in Dawn, February 1st, 2023

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