Pakistani doctors have failed to uphold the ethical standards that they have sworn to uphold within their Hippocratic oath, primarily respect for human rights and non-malfeasance says an expecting mother whose brother was killed by an ear,nose and throat specialist, three other doctors and security officers.
Yesterday (26th March) while Kiran Saleem (30 yrs) was attending Services Hospital Lahore for a pre-booked appointment with a gynecologist she was initially made to wait by Dr Sara Khan who was busy on her personal telephone a usual professional malaise in Pakistan. On this occasion however Dr Sara became so involved in her call that she asked a nearby nurse to tend to Kiran an act that may have been triggered by a reluctance to serve a Christian.
Kiran at this point simply demanded that she be seen by a doctor as this was her second pregnancy and she was having severe pains in her stomach region and thought she was ready to give birth. Seeing that Kiran was in real pain her sister Mehwish (26 yrs) who was with her yelled at the doctor to provide a bed for her, however Dr Sara did not budge or feel any remorse for the poor service being offered to Kiran and reiterated that the Kiran would be seen by a nurse.
Eventually, the doctor threw the medical file of Kiran’s stomach and allegedly said “If you are that impatient go to another hospital and we will see if they will admit you.”
The lack of attention to his sister during a scheduled examination raised the ire of Kiran’s younger brother Sunil (28 yrs) who was also there with his brother Anil (27 yrs), husband of Kiran Kashif Shafeeq (32 yrs) and Saleem Johnson (60 yrs) father of Kiran.
Kiran told BPCA that Sunil felt insulted that his sister was being denied the opportunity to see the doctor despite her remonstrations and obvious concerns. Fortunately while he was challenging Dr Sara some nurses graciously contacted the medical superintendent and local police who intervened and resolved the matter by ensuring a doctor assessed Kiran.
Peace was restored and the father Saleem went home to get some food for Kiran and the rest of the family and returned in the evening with Shumaila (24 yrs). The family were discussing the earlier fiasco with Shumaila who had just arrived. However the discussion raised the ire of the other nurses and one commented rudely telling them to cease their discussion as she believed the fault was from Kiran’s family and not the fault of medical staff. Some doctors involved themselves involved in the argument which became heated as they drew closer to the Christian family.
Doctors at one point lost their rag and told the family that Christians should not question the services provided by a Muslim doctor. The argument elevated after a Muslim doctor called Sunil a Chura (derogatory word for Christians) and instead of trying to calm the situation other Muslim doctors and a two man security team joined the argument and locked Sunil his brother Anil and Kashif Shafeeq the husband of Kiran in the room they were in and closed the shutters.
The atmosphere turned chilling as the three Christians were informed that they would be beaten for their insolence and roundly set upon the three men for 30 minutes telling them that there was no escape for them and called them dirty Chura. The violence has been described as ‘harrowing’ by survivor Anil Saleem.
All men were left sprawling on the floor before other medical staff were called to assist them led by a senior department officer who stopped the fight after responding to the noise, however the severe injuries suffered by Saleem were too much for him to overcome. Though he was placed in an intensive unit he never recovered from his injuries and died at 11pm (7pm GMT). Reports suggest that he succumbed to injuries that include blunt force trauma and severe cuts from a sharp object. It is believed that the doctors used medical scissors and scalpels to severely wound the three Christians. At one point a sheet of glass was also thrown at the Christian victims and all were severely injured.
Mehwish the sister of Kiran spoke with the BPCA, she said:
“I am deeply disturbed by what has happened to our family, we were expecting the birth of a new child into our growing family, but have now lost our eldest brother. We are all deeply grieved and Kiran should have delivered her baby but now her pregnancy is mysteriously delayed.
“We are all just totally numbed and lost in our shock and life seems surreal. The men who murdered our brother are meant to be doctors – people who save lives – how could this happen?
“Medical instruments were used to kill Sunil I saw the wounds myself and now I will be emotionally scarred for life. At this moment in time I just want to cry forever.
“I pray to God that he cares for my brother Sunil and seek his help now in obtaining justice.”
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said:
“Once again medical professionals have been found breaking the Hippocratic oath. The failure to adhere to international medical ethics should be deeply concerning to the Government of Pakistan as it highlights the failure by the nation to meet international laws for human rights that the nation has ratified.
“A family has been broken and the Christian community demoralized by another failure by a national institution. The systemic prejudice within the states statutory authorities and services are examples of an ongoing genocide which will one day eradicate Christianity from Pakistan if left unchecked.
“Western nations will have to begin more engaging dialogue with Pakistan and may have to consider harsher economic and diplomatic measures to encourage insouciant national leaders to fulfil their moral and legal obligations. Failing that we can only expect Pakistan to continue to export the terror within their nation into more stable nations in the west.”