The J&K and Ladakh High Court have issued notice to the government on a plea challenging inquiry into the death of journalist Mudassir Ali in November 2020.
According to the officials a bench of Justice Mohammad Akram Chowdhary while hearing a petition filed by Mussadir Ali’s brother, Jehangir Ali, issued notice returnable within four weeks, to the J&K government through Commissioner Secretary Health and Medical Education Department, Director Health Services Kashmir, Deputy DHSK and Expert Committee through its Head, Dr Abdul Rashid Najjar.
Jehangir has sought directions to quash an Enquiry Report submitted to the DHSK by his deputy on 22 December 2020.
“They (officials) be directed to conduct a fresh enquiry in the matter in view of the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in Jacob Mathew vs the State of Punjab reported in (2005) 6 SCC 1,” Jehangir has submitted.
“They (officials) be directed to give a clear finding with respect to the fact whether the conduct of the doctor, administrative staff and the ambulance team amounted to medical negligence in the given facts and circumstances of the case.”
Giving brief about the facts leading to Mudassir’s death, Jehangir submitted that he along with other family members took the Mudassir to the Casualty of Sub-District Hospital, Chrar-i-Sharief on 20 November 2020 at around 3:00 AM after he complained of breathlessness and chest pain.
On arrival at the hospital, Jehangir said, the deceased “was not provided with a wheelchair or a stretcher and the attendants were instructed to shift him to the ward on foot into another building using the stairs”.
“The attending doctor was asleep in the night room and the hospital was understaffed and the deceased (Mudassir) had to be therefore carried by the attendants. While on the way into another building (Mudassir) collapsed and stopped breathing,” Jehangir said, adding, “After collapsing, the doctor asked for a life-saving injection to be administered, from the staff, which also was not readily available.”
By the time the life-saving drugs and other necessary tests were carried out, Jehangir said, the deceased had completely stopped breathing and was unconscious. “The doctor present then inefficiently resorted to Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), but to no avail.”
The petitioner said that he and the other accompanying attendants were then instructed to shift the deceased to SMHS hospital in a Critical Care Ambulance, which is around 30 Kms from the Sub District Hospital, Jehangir said.
“Mudassir was not kept on oxygen supply in the transit to SMHS hospital and resultantly the patient died en route and was declared brought dead by the authorities at the SMHS Hospital,” Jehangir said.
He said it is “clearly discernible from the facts that the doctors and the administrative staff at the hospital delayed the treatment to be provided to Mudassir which ultimately aggravated his condition due to the fact that he was not kept on oxygen supply in the ambulance”.
As per Jehangir, an enquiry committee headed by Dr Abdul Rashid Najjar was constituted by DHSK and submitted the report. “However he said that report was not in consonance with the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court, ” he alleged.