Death of a 38-year-old person and father of four children due to alleged negligence by doctors at sub-district hospital Kupwara triggered off massive protests in the north Kashmir district on Tuesday.
Following the protests, Chief Medical Officer Kupwara has ordered a time-bound probe into the incident.
According to family, the painter, Ghulam Mohammad Lone, was admitted in hospitalon Monday afternoon after he complained pain in his chest.
“He left for hospital after returning home from half-day work. The doctors who attended upon him advised him surgery,” Fayaz Ahmad Lone, younger brother of deceased said.
The surgery was conducted, he said, and doctors left the hospital, “leaving him at the mercy of attendants”.
“He died of the negligence of the doctors at the hospital,” Fayaz accompanied by locals, told GNS.
“From 3:30 a.m this (Tuesday) morning, we repeatedly contacted the doctor who conducted surgery but he arrived only at 10:30 p.m. and it was already too late.”
“I went personally to his quarter which is nearby the hospital and pleaded him to check condition of my brother which was deteriorating with every minute. Instead of himself, he sent some nurse. Later, at 5 a.m I again went to his quarter and pleaded for help but to no avail.”
When he did not turn up till 9:30 a.m., Fayaz said, he along with his other relatives again went to call him to attend the patient.
“While we knocked his door, there was no response. He finally came at 10:30 a.m but my brother had already passed away,” he added.
As soon as the news about Lone’s death spread in the area, hundreds of people took to streets outside the hospital and staged massive protests, demanding action against those responsible for the “negligence.”
The protesters also tried to damage the hospital infrastructure but were prevented by the timely intervention of the police.
“It is not the failure of the surgery that led to his death. It’s the negligence of those doctors who left the patient at the mercy of attendants,” said Mohammad Shafi Mir, local Block President of the National Conference.
Another resident Irshad Jameel claimed that the sub-district hospital lacks the proper nursing staff and doctors “give preference to private practice.”
“There is hardly any doctor present in the night hours at the hospital,” he said.
However, Dr Maqbool, who actually advised Lone to undergo the surgery, denied allegations by the protesters.
“The patient was obese and was chain-smoker. He had Pneumothorax (medical term for a collapsed lung). Surgery was conducted after proper tests and it was successful,” he told GNS. “Since he was obese and chain smoker, prima facie, he died of heart attack,” he said.
Meanwhile, following the protests, CMO Kupwara, Dr Munir Ahmad Khwaja ordered constitution of a three member team comprising Dr Ghulam Nabi Lone (A-Grade Specialist Surgeon) Dr Mohammad Ramzan (District Tuberculosis Officer and Physician Specialist) and Dr Iqbal (B Grade Physician Specialist) to probe the incident.
“The team has been asked to submit report within two days,” Dr Munir told GNS, and assured action if the team concluded the death as due to negligence.
Meanwhile, a pall of gloom descended Muqami Shahwali, the native village of Lone when his body reached home.