HIV suspect ‘denied’ treatment at Jinnah Hospital

Amer Malik
Friday, Dec 02, 2022

LAHORE: A destitute patient with a life-threatening condition, suspected to have HIV, was allegedly turned away from Emergency of Jinnah Hospital on World AIDS Day on Thursday.

The patient, probably a drug addict, was groaning with extreme pain due to wounded legs and maggots eating away at wounds outside emergency ward of Jinnah Hospital as doctors evicted him from emergency ward, fearing that he may have been suffering from HIV.

“The doctors are not providing me any treatment and turn me away from the (emergency) ward every time I try to enter there,” the patient, a resident of Yateem Khana, said in a groaning voice outside the emergency ward. Muhammad Zubair, a visitor attending another patient on the spot, informed The News that some passersby or neighbours dropped the patient in hospital as no one there to look after him. “The doctors say that he is a drug addict (Injecting Drug User) and may have an HIV, therefore, we will not touch him,” he said.

“The anti-maggot oil is not available so his wounds cannot be cleared,” he quoted doctors as saying. He alleged that the doctors did not bother to put on gloves, get his blood sample for tests and give him something to relieve his pain. “The doctors, instead, called the police. The cops took him away and dropped him somewhere without ensuring his treatment at the hospital,” he alleged.

“It is a tertiary care hospital. One wonders what medical ethics are being followed that allows doctors to be so apathetic towards patients,” he lamented. When contacted, JHL Medical Superintendent Dr Yahya Sultan, while expressing his ignorance about the incident, said that there was no reason to turn away any patient from emergency ward.

“It does not matter even if he was suspected to be an HIV patient, because it is a not a transmittable disease,” he said and sought details of the patient so that he may be treated in the hospital. “We will also take disciplinary action against doctors, who turned the patient away instead of providing him necessary treatment,” he added.

“Hate HIV, not patient, and he/she rather be treated politely, said Dr Akhtar Malik, Punjab Minister for Primary and Secondary Healthcare, while addressing a seminar held in connection with World AIDS Day under the auspices of Punjab AIDS Control Programme (PACP) in collaboration with UNDP, UNICEF and UNAIDS here in Lahore on Thursday. The minister said that the citizens may protect themselves from HIV menace through leading balanced life and adopting preventive measures.