PESHAWAR: Being in the frontline of its tremendous services during the coronavirus pandemic, a single but irresponsible act of Associate Hospital Director (AHD) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s leading public sector hospital, Lady Reading Hospital has damaged all the good work done by the doctors and other healthcare providers.
Tariq Burki has been accused of harassing a Covid-19 patient
from Sindh province and her attendant and keeping them in illegal detention.
The lady patient was taken to LRH a few days ago with serious health complications. The patient, a resident of Nawab Shah district in Sindh, contracted the coronavirus in Peshawar during her visit to relatives.
She was well handled and admitted to the Corona Complex, a massive facility established by the LRH administration for the Covid-19 patients.
LRH had almost suspended all other routine services and set up the largest such facility of the province, which helped save precious human lives.
At the complex, the patient was passed on pulse oximeter and she reportedly erroneously pulled out the cable while changing her position. The monitor fell on the ground and reportedly developed some technical fault.
When the patient recovered and was about to leave the hospital, the AHD called her son Attaur Rahman Bangash to his office and asked him to pay Rs500,000 to them for damaging the monitor.
Those present on the occasion told The News that the attendant of the patient was all praise for the hospital and the doctors for the excellent services provided to his mother and saving her life.
However, he told the AHD that they had not damaged the monitor deliberately and why would they cause damage to the hospital equipment where his mother was well treated.
Tariq Burki, who is the only non-doctor holding the AHD position in LRH. In all the Medical Teaching Institutions (MTIs), the position is held by doctors. He allegedly warned the attendant that he would register an FIR against him and send him to jail.
“The attendant again denied their involvement in damaging the monitor and said it was not possible for them to pay Rs500,000 as they had hardly arranged some amount to take the patient to Sindh in an ambulance. But Tariq Burki didn’t listen to him and showed him the door,” said an official of the hospital administration.
Pleading anonymity, he said some of their colleagues intervened and tried to make AHD understand that the way he was handling the issue would cause damage to the institution, but he didn’t listen to them.
“Big mess up by the hospital administration but successfully covered up by the administration when inquired by chairman Board of Governors Dr Nausherwan Burki,” a senior faculty member of the institution said.
“This was a very satisfied customer who had come from Sindh and stated that he received better treatment in LRH than he would have had in a private hospital in Karachi. The whole thing was messed up by the man who turned a clinical success story into a media disaster,” he added.
Those in picture of the incident told The News that Tariq Burki had no idea about price of the monitor when he demanded Rs500,000 as cost of the equipment.
“Tariq Burki knew that the monitor will be repaired free of cost by the company but he still forced the attendants to pay 20,000,” said an insider at the hospital.
Pleading anonymity, he said Tariq Burki later asked the attendant to pay Rs200,000 and leave the hospital, but the attendant expressed his inability to arrange the amount.
There were conflicting reports about the incident as a section of the media reported that the female patient was kept in illegal detention in a police station and was freed after paying Rs20,000 to the LRH administration.
BoG Chairman Dr Nausherwan Burki, when reached for comment, denied reports of putting the patient in jail. “Absolutely lies. Nobody was put in jail. They were asked to pay Rs20,000 for deliberate damage to hospital property, which they paid and left,” Dr Burki explained.
The hospital spokesman, Mohammad Asim denied these reports and said the patient from Nawab Shah district was very well treated for coronavirus as she was rushed to the LRH in critical condition.
“The attendants were satisfied and happy with the medical treatment which saved her life. She was provided with free medical treatment. The hospital administration decided to charge them for the damage to a monitor,” he explained.
The bio-medical department later estimated Rs20,000 as repairing cost of the monitor. It said it can be repaired even free of cost by the firm that provided the equipment to them.
According to the LRH spokesman, the attendant paid Rs20,000 to the hospital administration.
The attendant, Attaur Rahman Bangash later recorded a video statement and complained that Tariq Burki insulted them in front of the people despite so many requests to let them go.
He demanded Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and Dr Nausherwan Burki to take note of the way they were humiliated by the AHD. He complained that no action has been taken against AHD yet.