Stories about hospitals

Is culling dogs the solution to Sindh’s rabies crisis?

Twelve-year-old Mir Hassan Abro died in the arms of his helpless mother last week because the hospital where he went for his treatment had no anti-rabies vaccines available. While Abro’s death is only the latest incident representing the poor state of affairs in Pakistan’s healthcare sector, it is also a stark reminder of the sheer volume of rabies cases which Sindh is afflicted with. The shortage of anti-rabies vaccines continues to compound and further aggravate a problem which could be resolved if the state and the provincial governments ensured that hospitals in Sindh were better equipped to deal with the growing number ...

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From Nashwa’s death to doctors spreading HIV, what is happening to Pakistan’s healthcare?

“Primum non nocere.”  (First, to do no harm) This is how I started a blog for the Express Tribune a few years ago. I wrote it then because I felt I had to speak out. A sweeper in Karachi had been rushed to a nearby hospital after he succumbed to noxious gases while trying to clear a sewer. The shocking bit was that the fasting doctor on duty refused to treat the critically ill sweeper covered in sewage water, claiming that doing so would have broken his fast. Interestingly, it is Ramazan again, so perhaps an apt time to remind my fellow healthcare ...

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With PTI now in power, will young doctors in Punjab finally be free of CIP?

Doctors in Pakistan have always managed to be a regular part of the headlines for debatable reasons. Besides facing career and image building challenges, the doctors community has also suffered at the hands of certain health policies, the infamous Central Induction Policy (CIP) being the most notable. The foregoing Punjab government claimed that only blue-eyed candidates were inducted in post-graduate training programs in public hospitals across the province. To end this putative monopoly and to establish a system based on merit, the former Punjab chief minister introduced the notorious CIP, which although was put forward in good faith but turned ...

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Is Pakistan ready for mock drills in malls and hospitals?

Imagine you are a cardiac patient lying on a hospital bed, waiting for a specialist to decide whether you are fit enough to undergo triple bypass surgery. All of a sudden there’s commotion and you see people running around and someone shouts, “Bomb, bomb! Run outside!” There is pandemonium everywhere. You see patients being taken away by hospital attendants, and you almost have a heart attack, waiting for someone to carry you to safety. You pass out and when you come back to your senses, you find out it was just a mock drill, carried out by “experts” to find out how the hospital ...

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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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IDEAS 2016: For the elite, by the elite

Like every year, a proud tradition has come about again; one where government officials and army generals hold highly sophisticated weapons in their hands and pretend to target invisible enemies – so the foreign dignitaries they are trying to entertain are impressed enough to purchase the firearm in question for big bucks – because, well, these steel toys do not come cheap. The place is flocked by bureaucrats, generals and a whole lot of politicians in one place having a good time and appreciating the deadliest weapons produced by a third world country. Although this is seen every year under the name of International Defence Exhibition ...

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Why aren’t there any well-equipped ambulances available in Karachi?

A few years ago, my cousin passed away in Gwadar. His wife had to transport his body from Gwadar to Karachi in a Toyota Hiace because she could not get hold of an ambulance. That memory resurfaced when I heard that ambulance services were unavailable to carry the dead bodies of the martyred cadets in the attack on the Police Training Academy in Quetta. Even if one tries to justify the legitimacy of such issues by claiming that Gwadar and Quetta are ‘remote’ areas, why is there a shortage of ambulances in Karachi and in other developed cities of Pakistan? Apart from the ...

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If my father dies, I will hold Islamabad’s Shifa International responsible for his death

As I write this, my father is fighting for his life, unconscious with a ventilator pumping oxygen into his frail body from a makeshift tank in the surgical step-down of supposedly one of the best health facilities in this unfortunate country, the Shifa International Hospital of Islamabad. But my father was not like this a couple of days ago. He came to this hospital expecting humanity, civility, hospitality, professionalism and some refined attitude. None of his expectations were met and instead he nearly lost his life. As his bed was being darted into the ICU, he was unconscious and heartbroken. He had ...

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Can we trust the pharmacists in Pakistan today?

Pharmacists have a broad role in the health care team, from dispensing drugs to monitoring patient health. They are an important source of information regarding appropriate, safe and effective utilisation of medicines. In developed countries, pharmacists council patients on the use of medications, and advise physicians and other health professionals on drug related decisions. This collaboration between pharmacists and physicians has resulted in safer and effective medication. Hence, pharmacists are being given more and more responsibilities, globally. For instance, in two states of the US, pharmacists are allowed to prescribe medication independently. In addition to this, the role of pharmacists in New Zealand is changing ...

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Excuse me VIPs, can you move your cameras and armed personnel so doctors can save lives?

Did you know that essentially there are only two types of people in Pakistan? Let me introduce them to you. The first is the population in waiting. They are the ones who stand in lines, who grab a ticket and wait for their turn, who crowd the waiting rooms until their names are called out. They are the poor, the middle class, the hapless subaltern. The second, more fortuitous type, are the VIPs. They are the ones who whizz past lines under a haze of officialdom, who don’t have to collect tickets and watch the clock tick, who have never seen ...

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