The News

Punjab healthcare commission seals Multan hospital over surgeries gone wrong

  • Punjab govt seals Multan hospital involved in botched surgeries that left over a dozen patients blind in one eye.
  • Govt has victims examined at the ophthalmology department of Multan’s Nishtar Hospital.
  • Punjab Healthcare Commission to decide on whether the 16 victims should be admitted to the hospital or sent home with medicines.

ISLAMABAD: The Punjab Healthcare Commission (PHC) has sealed a hospital in Multan over more than a dozen surgeries gone wrong and had the affected patients examined at the city’s Nishtar Hospital.

Last week, some 16 people, including seven women, allegedly lost their eyesight at the same time after their respective surgeries at a local private hospital in Multan. All of them had used the Sehat Insaf Card — a flagship public health initiative by the incumbent PTI government — for their operation, according to one of the patients.

Following the incident, the 16 individuals were examined at the ophthalmology department of Multan’s Nishtar Hospital, Chief Health Officer Dr Arshad Malik said, adding that the PHC had asked that the patients in question be provided  a check-up.

Geo News/Screengrab via The News

Following the check-up, Dr Malik explained, the PHC would be apprised of the treatment of the affected persons. It would also then decide whether they should be admitted to the hospital or sent home with medicines, he added.

According to the chief health officer, the PHC was to complete its probe today (Tuesday), while Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar’s five-member inquiry committee already submitted its report on the matter earlier today.

The committee “will take strict legal action against those found guilty upon completion of the inquiry”, as per an official handout quoted by a local paper.

Doctors’ ‘shortcomings have come to light’

Earlier, the private hospital in Multan where the botched surgeries were carried out, was sealed by the PHC. The facility’s treatment records were confiscated and its operating rooms shut down.

Of the 16 people, 12 were completely blinded in one of their eyes, PHC chief executive officer (CEO) Dr Muhammad Saqib Aziz. “The shortcomings of [some] doctors have come to light,” he said.

Dr Aziz vowed to identify those who were responsible for the botched surgeries once the investigation was completed.

Almost all of the patients were poor and elderly, according to The News reporter Imran Chaudhry, and they had visited the nursing and teaching hospital after it put up a banner announcing eye operations for the first time.

Operating room ‘not properly disinfected’

One of the patients had told The News that the operations were carried out by Dr Hasnain Mushtaq, an eye surgeon who denied any negligence in the process.

Dr Mushtaq had claimed that an infection had affected the eyesight of all 16 people. He had also expressed suspicion that the operation theatre — which came into use for the first time for eye surgeries — was “not properly disinfected”.

The aforementioned patient had explained how he “knew my eye had been ruined” once the bandage was removed and that all of them experienced pain throughout the night.

“In the morning, I called the doctor [who] prescribed medicine and then all of us went to the hospital, where some were admitted while others were forced to take medicine and asked to return to their homes,” the patient had said.

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