In a civilized society, the importance of human life in general and in Islam in particular is immense. Islam says, whoever saves the life of one person, it is as if he saved the life of all humanity and whoever kills one person, it is as if he has killed the whole humanity. Our society is very demanding of the implementation of Islamic teachings, but the consciousness of Islam is not common here, that is why human lives are being mistreated in hospitals, and the recent example of which is the tragic incident of Khyber Teaching Hospital Peshawar where seven patients, including five COVID-19 patients, died due to lack of oxygen in the hospital. The management seems to be negligent in this incident, but the management is placing the entire responsibility on the oxygen supply company to save itself.
It is very unfortunate that irreparable loss of seven precious lives has taken place, but instead of being ashamed, those responsible are blaming each other, it is beyond comprehension that the incident took place in the hospital and the oxygen supply company is being held responsible. While the company’s job is to provide oxygen, it is the job of the hospital administration and doctors to provide oxygen to the patients and take care of them. The incident took place at night and the administration is being informed about it the next day at noon. It entirely shows the negligence of the administration, even knowing that the Coronavirus pandemic has engulfed the entire country. How can such shortcomings be tolerated in the treatment of patients? Although the hospital’s board of governors has set up a committee to investigate the incident, there is a need for those found responsible to be severely punished rather than replaced or fired, but we do not have a tradition of punishment.
The management of Khyber Teaching Hospital seems to be clearly responsible for the incident. However, the entire responsibility is being shifted to the oxygen supply company to save itself. According to the preliminary investigation, on December 4, a company called Pakistan Oxygen had supplied 3,700 cubic meters of oxygen, while the hospital tank could store up to 7,000 cubic meters of oxygen. In this regard, the General Manager Administration of Oxygen Company has clarified that the same hospital needed 30,000 cubic meters of oxygen in October, which they supplied. While in November, when the hospital asked for more supply, they provided about 60,000 cubic meters, which is about 2,000 cubic meters on a daily basis. The oxygen company had supplied the hospital with excess oxygen on December 4, keeping in view the November average supply, while the hospital management has been claiming after the incident that the company’s vehicle was delayed due to oxygen problem. The oxygen company has termed this claim as ‘false’ and said that the hospital administration was saying it to cover up its incompetence. The hospital administration called when the supply ran out and we immediately sent a vehicle, which can be checked from hospital records.
The management of this hospital did not extend the contract of Oxygen Company in a timely manner and did not even inform the company about the timely supply as per its requirement. Due to this irresponsible behavior, seven precious lives were lost but the administration is showing great shamelessness and arrogance. This is not the first case of death of patients in the country. Numerous such incidents have filled the history of government hospitals, which shows how bad the condition of all government hospitals in the country is. From the hospital administration to the staff, their irresponsible attitude towards people has not been hidden from anyone. So, the incidents that happen to the patients on a daily basis demand special attention of the government. The same will happen after the investigation into the Teaching Hospital Peshawar incident, as it has been happening before, because in hospitals across the country, from the management to the doctors and staff, there is a mafia wreaking havoc on government hospitals that guarantees the development of private hospitals. Unless this mafia is stopped, there will be no positive change in the condition of government hospitals.
The PTI government is taking most of the steps to provide health facilities to the people, but the common man is deprived of the fruits of the government’s measures. The government ministers seem to be dynamic as far as statements are concerned, but in practice the performance is zero. On the other hand, from the construction of hospitals to the purchase of modern equipment, corruption has reached its peak, but there is no one to hold it accountable. There is an extreme indifference in government hospitals that death is being given instead of giving life and these death dealers are none other than their own Messiah who is depriving the patients of the right to breathe by not giving them oxygen. The government will have to take steps to improve the performance of the hospital management. The presence and continuity of oxygen supply in the hospitals is a must, in which case any kind of negligence will result in the said incident. In view of the dangerous situation of the hospital, it should be made possible to provide oxygen to the patients from time to time in the hospitals, so that the patients could not be put to death as a result of any negligence in the future.