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Independent body to probe patients’ deaths at Pims

ISLAMABAD: The management of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) has decided to constitute an independent committee to investigate incidents of deaths of patients.

The decision has been made after a number of incidents in which relatives beat up doctors following the death of their patient or doctors held strikes after clashes with relatives of patients.

“I get annoyed with such incidents. A number of times relatives of deceased patients held protests and beat up doctors. Moreover, the media highlighted the incidents and spoke only in favour of the patients.

“On the other hand, a number of times doctors held protests and strikes after such incidents,” Pims’ Executive Director (ED) Dr Raja Amjad told Dawn.

He said a few days ago a child was brought to the children hospital in a critical condition.

Though a doctor suggested conducting dialysis, the nephrology department doctors were of the view that dialysis could not be done on the child because he was very weak.

“In the meantime, the child died and it became a big issue. Even a mediaperson reached the hospital and blamed the ‘irresponsible’ behaviour of doctors for the death.”

In most of the cases, Dr Amjad said, patients were brought to the hospital at the last stage due to which it becomes almost impossible for doctors to save their life.

A few days ago a swine flu patient was admitted to a private hospital at H-8. Later, he was shifted to another private hospital at G-8 and when the private hospital doctors told his relatives that the patient cannot survive, he was shifted to Pims, he said.

“It becomes impossible to treat such patients. However, after the death of the patient, his relatives started blaming the doctors of Pims.

“I assume that soon doctors would stop treating very serious patients because of fear that they would be blamed for the death,” Dr Amjad said.

Pims is a tertiary care hospital and every day eight to 10 patients die here. Though inquiry committees are established in all the units, “we have also set up a ‘death review committee’ but patients and their relatives never trust such committees.”

He said the management has now decided to establish the independent committee in which even representatives of the media and civil society would also be included.

“I would request relatives of patients to file complaints with the committee rather than protesting and beating doctors after the death of a patient,” Dr Amjad said.

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