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HomeOpinionHow to clamp down on medical malfeasance?

How to clamp down on medical malfeasance?

There is no mechanism in place to educate the public about their rights that may control medical malpractices. The PMDC and other regulatory bodies must step up to control such malpractices. There should be efforts by the relevant departments like population welfare, healthcare agencies, social welfare and others to protect the taxpayers against such wrongs

The sad incident in Sahiwal’s public hospital has shaken the conscience of many. The messiah in question, a senior doctor and head of the hospital, appeared to be directing his subordinate staff to teach a ‘lesson’ to the brother of the female patient who complained to the authorities about the absence of doctors.

Although the situation changed when the recorded audio went viral and the authorities took notice.

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The health department suspended medical superintendent Dr. Kafaytullah and medical officer Dr. Sidra Ramazan and terminated Dr. Aasma Mumtaz on misconduct.

A question arises whether it is enough to suspend officials or whether more steps should be taken to prevent such incidents from happening again.

Another such video went viral in which an official of the Young Doctors Association (YDA) is seen fuming over a surprise visit by the deputy commissioner and other government officials, saying that no one has the right to inspect the hospitals. “After passing certain exams, they become superior officers and assert authority over them,” a union leader spoke. It is one of the reasons the district monitoring officers remain reluctant to inspect hospitals.

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It is not difficult to understand how poor patients must be treated in hospitals when this is the way of thinking of the representatives of the messiahs.

The Code of Hammurabi says, “If the doctor has treated a gentleman with a lancet of bronze and has caused the gentleman to die, or has opened an abscess of the eye for a gentleman with a bronze lancet, and has caused the loss of the gentleman’s eye, one shall cut off his hands”.

Over in the US, a New York Times investigation into healthcare practices revealed many interesting facts. As per details, John Yoon reported that doctors let assistants operate that forced authorities to install cameras in operation theatres.

A fertility doctor Paul B Jones was accused of using artificial insemination with his own sperm to have fathered over about two dozen children with a dozen women. After the trial, he was ordered to pay millions.

A Virginia Doctor Dr. Javaid Perwaiz gets 59 Years for unneeded surgery and improper sterilizations as prosecutors said. Likewise, a woman who died at Abbott Northwestern Hospital won a judgment exceeding $20 million.

A doctor who wrongly prescribed pain pills in Long Island was held criminally accountable for opioid-related death. He was charged with five counts of murder.

The above reports, in the law-abiding western world, reflect that advanced societies have accepted that the complainant can invoke the principle of res ispa loquitur (the principle that the mere occurrence of some types of accidents is sufficient to imply negligence). But here in Pakistan, the YDA protests against the implementation of the Medical Teaching Institutions (MTI) Reform Act 2020 or other such reforms introduced by the government. The associations neither have plans to reform or improve health care nor allow the privatization of government hospitals.

The formation of committees and commissions in Pakistan is also accused of being a conspiracy to play with people’s emotions. The government already had to implement the health care system by spending a huge amount of Rs400 billion because the government hospitals could not fulfil their obligations. A good number of doctors can be quoted who join government hospitals only to manage patients to make their private practice booming.

Dr Usama said that usually wrong incidents are quoted against the medical fraternity. He said during house jobs doctors face humiliation and long hours of duty. He said that this training results in a wrong attitude towards patients. If a doctor completes specialisation, his attitude worsens.

A lawyer Naseer Ahmad believes that due to the lack of accountability, the government delivery system is more or less stagnant. He said that if the oppressors were punished in time, the situation would not have become so bad.

A former health secretary when spoken to said that such messiahs or public servants have become a burden on the treasury for no reason. He said that unless you strengthen the check and balance system such matters will continue to happen. He stressed the need to install IT-based monitoring solutions to avoid such incidents in the future.

A judicial officer on anonymity said that it is not at all difficult to get relief for such well-connected people. He said that all such officers who are posted in the services sector should be medically examined every year to see if they are fit for the post or not. He added that due to the lack of accountability, even those who pass the highest exams “become garbage in the public sector.” The only requirement is that instead of giving salaries and allowances to people permanently, they should be awarded heavily against what they perform in a real sense. He said some tribes enjoy complete immunity, adding that the magnitude of cases that go unreported is alarming.

There is no mechanism in place to educate the public about their rights that may control medical malpractices. The Pakistan Medical & Dental Council (PMDC) and other regulatory bodies must step up to control such malpractices. There should be efforts by the relevant departments like population welfare, healthcare agencies, social welfare and others to protect the taxpayers against such wrongs.

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