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Who is to blame for Shahnaz’s kidney failure?

January 15, 2013

LAHORE, Jan 14: “Who is responsible for the failure of my mothers’ kidneys at a state-run tertiary care hospital and the Rs0.2 million expenditures incurred on her treatment,” a jobless youth asks the provincial health authorities.

Qadeer Ahmad, son of a Pakistan Army employee, Nazir Ahmad, was arguing on Monday with Jinnah Hospital doctors who told him to take his ailing mother Shahnaz Bibi, 45, to any private hospital for dialysis and adjustment of fistula on her arms.

Nazir Ahmad had died during service some three years ago and since then Qadeer’s only income is his father’s Rs6,000 pension. Qadeer is living in a rented house in Fareed Town near Allama Iqbal International Airport.

According to the hospital record, Shahnaz was re-admitted to the facility’s Medical-IV department last Friday after a private hospital refused to conduct her dialysis due to blockage in the fistula tube and referred her again to the institute. The fistula was applied by the doctors at the Jinnah Hospital.

“The doctors told me to take my mother to any private hospital for treatment due to some unavoidable circumstances,” disappointed Qadeer told Dawn.

Quoting a doctor, he said the hospital was lacking experts who could apply fistula and denied her free dialysis facility because of the long waiting list of patients with kidney failure.

He claimed that his mother had no previous history of any critical disease and her kidneys failed due to wrong treatment by the doctors at Chest Ward (TB Ward) of Jinnah Hospital.

“I brought my mother to OPD of Jinnah Hospital on Nov 9 when she complained of minor stomach pain,” he said.

The doctors admitted her to the TB ward where another patient, Shahnaz Bibi, her namesake, was also getting treatment.

Qadeer alleged that during treatment the on-duty doctors mistakenly (read negligently) exchanged her mother’s diagnostic investigation files with those of her namesake.

He alleged that the doctors started giving wrong treatment to both patients on the basis of the ‘exchanged’ files. “I don’t know what happened to the other patient but my mother’s condition started deteriorating and ultimately she had to be put on dialysis,” he said.

He said a senior doctor came to know about the ‘mismanagement’ after he noticed massively swollen face of his mother and went through the case and treatment histories, besides diagnostic tests reports attached to the department’s files. Qadeer claimed the senior doctor snubbed the on-duty junior medics for the ‘mistake’ and directed them to immediate refer her for dialysis.

“After her three-week long treatment, my mother was shifted to the Medical-V where the doctors started getting conducted various tests privately,” Qdeer said, adding that to bear the cost he had to sell all his belongings.

He said he had to spend Rs0.2 million on private investigations and medicines of his mother during her 50-day stay at the Jinnah Hospital.

He said two days before his mother’s admission to Jinnah Hospital (on last Friday) he had to sell his motorbike on throw-away price to pay for her dialysis at a private hospital.

“Neither the doctors applied fistula nor conducted dialysis of my mother since her readmission to the hospital”, Qadeer complained, adding that he lost his job due to his prolonged engagement in the treatment process of his mother for the last three months or so.

The in-charge of Medical-V, Dr Hafiz Ejaz, was not picking his cell phone despite repeated attempts by this reporter while the on-duty doctors concerned were not ready to talk on the issue. Allama Iqbal Medical College Principal Prof Dr Mahmood Shaukat said he would personally look into the matter to redress the patient’s complaint.

“Please ask the patient to visit my office on Tuesday morning (today),” Prof Mahmood said.