PMDC takes belated notice of sanitary worker’s death at govt hospital

Zubair Qureshi

Whether it is due to Ramazan exhaustion or some other reason that Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) kept quiet for twenty days and on Thursday woke up from deep slumber taking ‘serious’ notice of the death of a sanitary worker in remote area of Sindh district Umerkot hospital. The incident took place on June 2 when a sanitary worker reportedly lost his life due to doctors’ negligence. The council’s president Prof Dr Shabir Lehri has finally taken notice of the death of Irfan Masih who had fainted while working inside a gutter therefore denied treatment at the Umerkot hospital because he was unclean and the doctor was a pious Muslim and was fasting too. The unclean body of a non-Muslim had posed serious threat to the piety and purity of the doctor. Ironically, PMDC President has taken notice of the doctor’s negligence at a time when the entire country is going on Eid holidays for almost nine days.
A press release issued here Thursday speaks volumes of the ‘quick’ and ‘in time’ action of the council and tells “President PMDC after receiving a complaint immediately constituted an Inquiry committee to investigate the case and this type of discrimination and disgraceful behavior was not acceptable at all.”
The typical statement goes on to say that it is indeed a very unfortunate behavior as being a medical practitioner one should be dedicated to provide competent medical services with full technical and moral independence with compassion and respect for human dignity. Doctors should always strictly ensure emergency care as humanitarian duty.
Dr Lehri is also seen in the press release emphasizing all the medical and dental practitioners to bear in mind the obligations of preserving life and shall not discriminate on the basis of age, gender, class, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, health conditions, marital discord, domestic or parental status, criminal record or any other applicable bias as prescribed by law.
He says that we will thoroughly investigate the case and if any doctor in this case or any other negligence case is found to be involved PM&DC will take strict action against him/her.
The deceased, 30-year-old Irfan Masih, fell unconscious along with three other sanitary staff while cleaning a manhole in Umerkot. He died hours later in the government hospital in front of doctors who were allegedly reluctant to treat him because Irfan was drenched in sewage sludge. The doctors refused to treat him because they were fasting and said my son was unclean.

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