Stories about doctors in Pakistan

Is social media blurring the line of ethics between a doctor and a patient?

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy’s tweets that claimed a doctor sent her sister a Facebook friend request a day after treating her, and called his behaviour ‘harassment’, have been met with a bag of mixed reactions. Some commended her for taking up this issue, while others criticised her choice of words and for using her celebrity status for a personal cause. Since she has acknowledged that her choice of words was not appropriate, the focus should thus be shifted to the real problem, which is not about a lack of code of ethics. Chinoy’s story blaringly sounds the alarm of an issue which has been ignored for far ...

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Why is Autism considered taboo or a byproduct of supernatural forces in Pakistan?

I finally understood the truth behind the saying, “it takes a village to raise a child” when I started raising my own son. Raising a child of any age can be a whirlwind and this struggle intensifies when one is raising a child with a disability. This year, during my trip to Pakistan, I was fortunate enough to meet a wonderful middle-class Pakistani family. On the outside, they looked like your typical Pakistani family – working father, stay-at-home mother and three beautiful school-going children. However, the inner workings of their family were far from average. Mr and Mrs Ahmed’s* youngest son, Ali*, was ...

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Refusing to treat sweepers in Ramazan only highlights our doctors’ unethical unprofessionalism

“Primum non nocere” is Latin for “first, do no harm”. Although not overtly found in the text of the original Hippocratic Oath, the message in that Latin phrase holds firm for students making the transition from medical apprenticeship to medical practice. Scholars have widely attributed the oath to Hippocrates, the father of western medicine. As their rite of passage, young doctors graduating from medical schools the world over take some modern version or another of the oath, several in their own languages. Medical schools in Pakistan follow suit in terms of the oath being taken by students prior to practicing as independent doctors, with valid medical licenses ...

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While doctors in Punjab and Sindh struggle to make ends meet, K-P emerges as a heaven for doctors

“You sow in tears before you reap joy.”  The statement by Ralph Ransom, author of the book ‘Steps on the Stairway’, falls short when applied to the doctors of Punjab. They sow day and night for years, only to pluck disappointment and cold shoulders. Frustration, desperation, sweat and tears flood every corridor and hallway of every medical college. The story of a medical student in Pakistan trying to become a doctor can very well be compared to a person trying to make it to the end of the tunnel, only to find out that the light at the end is not the promised land ...

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The dancing girls

Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Relax your diaphragm. Repeat. This was my mantra, at least, these days it was. I tried to tell myself that these three steps would make everything better, would make the way I feel better. But I don’t really think they do. I can see the city lighting up from my window. I know that outside, people are getting ready to leave their houses, and venture out into Karachi’s beauty. I’d be a part of it too, if I could, if I knew how. But the bars on my windows are too strong. They skew ...

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The infant girl no one in Pakistan fought for

Her ragged breathing must have echoed eerily all over the ward or it could have been muffled by the loud beeping of all the equipment. It is almost a mercy that she was an infant and had no way to comprehend how she had been discarded by everyone in this world. This baby, according to this Facebook post, had been inside an incubator ever since her birth and could not breathe on her own. She was in the hospital overnight with the medical staff and the doctor on the nightshift while her parents could not be reached. The doctor in ...

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Should the internet be the one teaching our children about ‘the birds and the bees’?

You know they say that ‘hormonal teenagers’ is a cliché? And do you know what they say about clichés?  They say that most clichés are true. And they are.  And hormonal teenagers are the truest clichés in the universe. Psychology and medical science tell us now more than ever; if there was ever a time to accept this cliché and all the baggage that comes with it, it’s now. More parents, logically, should accept that between the ages of 13 to 18, young adolescents go through various surges of hormones in their bodies and sexual arousal is also a part of this physiological development. Logically, more parents should help ...

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Why did the doctors of Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital refuse to treat a transgender patient?

Recently, in Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital, a victim of a gunshot wound was left unattended for three hours. The patient was critically injured and the doctors refused to administer treatment. Moreover, the hospital staff was callous and impertinent. The victim’s name was Adnan. The whole incident sounds unreasonable, doesn’t it? Why would the doctors refuse to touch a patient? Why would the hospital staff point and laugh at a dying person? Well, Adnan is a transgender person. The entire transgender community in Pakistan has had to endure repeated verbal, physical and sexual abuse. I felt particularly sorry when I learned my medical peers were involved in an act ...

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PMDC’s 50:50 quota – Playing with our lives and our future

Two hours ago, I was sitting with my family watching TV and enjoying the show. Now, two hours later, I am typing this while my eyes are red and swollen. Why? Because two hours ago, I picked up my cellphone and came across an email that had a scanned copy of a letter from the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) saying that there should be a 50:50 quota for men and women in all medical colleges. And now everything is uncertain. There is no notification on the website of PMDC as I search frantically for any piece of news that I can ...

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For the apple of my eye

On August 22, 2013, I was blessed with a healthy baby boy, Yahya Waqas. He was perfect in every sense of the word. The apple of my eye, the joy of my life, everything I could ever dream of. He was a beautiful baby, my little miracle when I least expected it. He made our family complete. The three of us, he, my husband and I, were totally inseparable. We laughed with him, played with him, even danced with him. He was a feisty young boy and it was during my pregnancy that I fell unconditionally in love with him and I ...

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