The family of Greater Kashmir senior editor Muddasir Ali Monday rejected the findings of the probe committee constituted to investigate allegations of negligence by healthcare staff and called the report “a brazen cover up” and sought an independent probe to investigate the case.
The probe report has recommended that all hospital staff be equipped with skills of Basic and Advanced Life Support and that such staff is present at the hospital round-the-clock. It has also recommended that the doctors of various specialties coordinate among themselves for better patient care and the responsibility of this “coherence” is to be taken by the administrator of the hospital. However, the committee has upheld the decision to attach the doctor on duty and the ambulance staff but remained silent on the failure to ensure adequate oxygen supply in the emergency room and stretcher and wheel chair in access.
Welcoming the recommendations made by the investigation committee headed by Deputy Director Health Services Kashmir (Schemes), Dr Abdul Rashid Najjar, the family of Muddasir Ali urged the government to constitute a committee to independently probe the case.
“The probe team must exclude officials and experts working with the Directorate of Health Services Kashmir (DHSK),” Muddasir Ali’s brother Jehangir Ali said. “The committee has done a great job at saving the Health department even if it means more lives are lost due to apathy, negligence and inaction. The perpetrators in this case and similar ones enjoy impunity. Our family completely rejects the report and will challenge it at an appropriate forum.”
Referring to the probe findings, the family said, “If oxygen was not available in the Emergency Room, as the report mentions, whose fault is it?”
The family has also asked the Health department’s committee to come clear on why the doctor had to “lift the patient in lap” if a stretcher and sufficient staff was available in the hospital. “Who, if not the doctor, would know where the stretcher or the wheel chair is?” Ali said.
He said the administrator of the hospital must be held accountable for “inaccessibility of these basic facilities on the fateful night”.
“Victim blaming is the hallmark of the teams that probe cases of medical negligence. It’s always the fault of the patient that makes them lose lives,” Ali said. The committee report blamed the family for “wasting the golden hour” as Muddasir Ali was brought to the hospital three hours after developing symptoms.
“What made them come to reach this conclusion? Whose statement has been quoted to record this?” Ali asked.
He said the committee had fabricated lies and prepared “hogwash” to cover up the failure of the doctor on duty, the administrator and the entire department to ensure peripheral hospitals have adequate life-saving skills.