Committee files report, finds 'shortfalls' in attempts to save Muddasir Ali

The inquiry committee investigating the allegations of inadequate emergency response by the medical staff at Sub-district Hospital Chrar-e-Sharif to Greater Kashmir senior editor Muddasir Ali on Tuesday submitted its report highlighted the lapses at multiple levels and sought time for a more detailed investigation.

Muddasir had been taken to SDH Chrar-e-Sharif after he complained of chest pain at around 3 am on November 20. His brother, who was accompanying him, later complained that the on-duty doctor delayed the emergency treatment and instead of stabilising the patient referred him to Srinagar.

Subsequently, upon orders of the Director Health Services Kashmir, a three-member committee headed by Deputy Director Health Services Kashmir (Schemes) Dr Abdul Rashid Najjar started investigations into the “alleged negligence in handling of the emergency case of Muddasir Ali”.

The committee in its report recommended that the on-duty doctor be relieved from the posting and be attached to the Health department and the staff of the 108-criticalcare ambulance that took the patient should also be attached.

An official said that the team of investigators had “unanimously agreed” in the report that the doctor on duty “should have started ECG, IV therapy and resuscitation in the emergency area only”, where the patient was present rather than directing that he be shifted to the ward.

As per the family of the deceased, there was a delay in administering the emergency treatment to the patient at the hospital, which resulted in deterioration of his condition.

“The doctor told us that my brother had suffered a heart attack and then told us to take him to the ward upstairs,” Jehangir Ali, the younger brother of Muddasir Ali said.

Due to the unavailability of a stretcher or wheelchair at the hospital, the “heart attack victim” was made to climb stairs to reach the ward where the treatment was started.

“The physical exertion of climbing the stairs when he was gasping for breath contributed to the deterioration of my brother’s condition,” Jehangir said.

He has called the attention of the committee to the fact that the doctor on duty was “sleeping” when the patient arrived and took time to make the diagnosis and act. Jehangir has also sought answers from the health administration why there was no stretcher or wheel chair in the area so that the patient could have been carried rather than making him walk.

“Most importantly, why was there a delay of 15-20 minutes before the doctor did anything,” he said.

The committee, the health official said, has taken serious note of the fact that the doctor did the resuscitation drill “without mouth-to-mouth breathing” and the fact that the patient, despite being alive when shifted to the ambulance was put only on oxymeter and “no cardiac monitoring was done”.

He said a written response from the doctor and the administrator concerned would be sought and written allegations by the attendants be taken.

“They will also collect more records and documentary evidence,” he said. Director Health Services Kashmir, Dr Sumir Mattoo refused to detail out the findings of the committee and said that the final report was being worked on.

“The committee wants more time to investigate the allegations further,” he said.

Dr Mattoo said the committee had been given authority to take “all the opinions” into account and “would not comment before that”.