‘JLNM doctor turns away cancer surgery patient, out of grudge’

‘JLNM doctor turns away cancer surgery patient, out of grudge’
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Doctor, MS deny allegations

Junaid Manzoor

SRINAGAR: In an alleged case of medical negligence, doctors at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Memorial (JLNM) Hospital Rainawari refused to treat a cancer patient they were about to operate upon, giving her excuses of being short of staff and unable to provide the critical post-operative care.
Shamima Akhter, 47, a resident of Natipora, was diagnosed with stomach cancer and registered for surgery on Monday morning, according to hospital data. She was admitted to JLNM Hospital three days before the surgery date for requisite formalities. The doctor in charge of the surgery was senior oncologist Dr Zahoor Naiku. On Monday, he refused to go ahead with the surgery as he claimed that the hospital was not fully equipped and was running short of staff, the family said.
JLNM Hospital’s Medical Superintendent Dr Nazir Shahdad said, “Dr Naikoo immediately referred the patient to SKIMS (Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences) as it was the best possible option to carry out such a surgery. Zahoor is an experienced doctor and must have come to such a conclusion only after he thought it was better for the patient.” He further said that all the allegations made by the family are baseless and hold no value “as we give our best to treat everyone without any bias”.
The family’s version however is very different. “My mother was admitted in the hospital for the past three days, and we came here because the doctor assured us that she will be fine and the surgery will be carried out in a smooth manner here,” said Peer Ishfaq, the patient’s son. “But on Sunday night, a patient in the general ward developed an emergency and was in dire need of medical care. To our surprise, there was no doctor present at that time to cater to the patient’s needs, resulting in a huge hue and cry.
“When I finally met the doctor, he was furious as well as insensitive towards the issue and, without even listening to what I had to say, he straightaway refused to treat my mother and referred her to SKIMS with immediate effect. Just because the doctor wasn’t present, he thought that we had complained about him and he did this out of grudge against us. He did not think even for a second of what my mother was going through,” he said.
Ishfaq said that he shifted his mother to Noora Hospital because he lost all faith in state-run medical care.
Dr Naikoo denied the allegations. “The patient’s family is making an issue out of nothing. I had already told them that it was a district hospital with fewer facilities as compared to SKIMS. But they didn’t pay attention and forced me to perform the surgery.”
“I agreed to their demands initially as a doctor can’t abandon a patient. She was suffering from carcinoma and post-surgery complications could have surfaced. We were not prepared for that. The shortage of staff was always there. I even referred them to SKIMS on a priority basis, but they were more interested in accusing the hospital administration than in paying heed to what I said,” Dr Naikoo maintained.