Unsung heroes... By Nabeel
15 October, 2012
It is with a very heavy heart that I write these lines but do so only to open the eyes and ears of the Sindh government, the health department, administrations of government-run hospitals, the chief Justice of the Sindh High Court, the Chief Justice of Pakistan and all senior doctors to see the treatment that is being meted out to junior doctors. Dr Sana Usman, a graduate of the 2012 batch of the Sindh Medical College and house officer at the nephrology ward of the JPMC, died on October 9, 2012. She was only five months into her house job when this tragedy struck. She had been on post call (26 hours of duty) the day the incident took place. She was strangled in the elevator when her own dupatta (scarf) caught in the gaping holes of the elevator, which is supposed to be closed by glass. She was later shifted to the ICU in Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) where she died. This tragedy, God forbid, could have happened to any of us. It highlights the careless and negligent attitude of the government and the people posted in the administration towards the maintenance of hospitals. JPMC is not the only government-run hospital to suffer in this way. The same is the situation in the Civil Hospital, which has many wards without proper rooms and sanitary facilities for junior doctors on night duty. This is not the only situation that junior doctors have to face today. The constant threat of mob attacks, gunfire, target killings and media bashing are all part of their lives.
Junior doctors are being pushed against the wall. They cannot even exercise their right to protest because, if they do, media campaigns worth billions of rupees are initiated against them. However, the same amount of money, which is wasted in turning people against them, cannot be paid to them in the form of salaries. The late Dr Sana, a day before her death, talked to her sister for the last time about the financial burden being faced by their parents even though she was a working woman; she had not been paid her rightful salary for five months. Today we condemn the attack on Malala but there are other unsung heroes out there like Dr Sana who sacrifice their lives while doing their duty. It is high time that the demands of doctors are fulfilled with better pay scales and facilities provided to them.
DR NABEEL MANZAR