A fruit seller in critical condition has died in a private ambulance after four hospitals in Lahore, including Services and Ghulab Devi, allegedly refused treatment, Dawn reports.

The patient, Iftikhar Ali, 57 years old and a father to seven children, had been in a road accident a few weeks back, fracturing his leg. He was taken to Mayo Hospital for surgery, where he had a rod fixed in his leg. 

According to the family, Iftikhar experienced complications only a few days after being discharged from Mayo. He complained of severe pain in the leg and experiencing breathing issues. Pus was reportedly oozing out of the wound as well.

RELATED STORIES

When he was brought back, Mayo Hospital refused to admit Iftikhar and reportedly asked him to wait at home. One of the family members shared details of how a doctor suggested the family take Iftikhar to a private hospital in Lahore Cantt.

The family alleges that they were carelessly referred from one hospital to the next. Iftikhar’s family explained he was admitted to a private hospital a week back where the patient underwent another surgery.

During this time, the family sold household items to arrange Rs600,000 for the treatment. However, the hospital administration requested an additional Rs400,000, due to the ‘deposit having been drained’. 

When the family demonstrated their inability to afford more than the stipulated amount, the hospital discharged the patient three days after admission. They suggested Iftikhar be taken to any government hospital for ‘free treatment’.

Government hospitals Ghulab Devi and Services both denied Iftikhar admittance and treatment. At Ghulab Devi, doctors refused to admit the patient on the excuse that they visited the hospital “too late at night”, according to Iftikhar’s family.

A similar fate was encountered at Services, where doctors allegedly paid no heed to the family’s repeated request for admission, being asked to revisit OPD (out-patient department) any other day.

According to Dawn, the matter of denying treatment to the patient by public hospitals was in the knowledge of caretaker health minister Professor Javed Akram.

He expressed his guilt for the alleged criminal negligence on the part of hospital staff, saying that he would take up the matter with the higher authorities.