The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered protesting doctors at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) to resume their duties, while seeking a fresh report from the Punjab chief secretary into the ongoing conflict between PICâ€™s doctors and the provincial administration.
The court reminded protesting doctors that their boycott was undermining a fundamental right of patients, which is their right to live. Members of the Young Doctors Association continued protesting outside the PIC on Wednesday, demanding that senior doctors, who had been removed from their positions, be reinstated.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Shakirullah Jan, will resume the hearing on Friday, February 17 of a suo motu case on the deaths of patients from spurious medicines provided free of cost by the PIC.
The court also directed the provinceâ€™s health secretary and advocate-general to appear before the court on Fridayâ€™s hearing. SC registrar Dr Faqir Hussain Khokar also asked Punjab Chief Secretary Nasir Khosa to submit details of the protesting doctors and why they had been suspended.
A January 30 court order said that the responsible authority must conduct a transparent inquiry according to the law, fix responsibility and propose action on matters that had arisen after the PIC medicine disaster. â€œAll doctors/officers/manufacturers of the relevant drugs shall fully cooperate with the inquiry which shall be concluded expeditiously. However, no such doctor or a person required in such investigation or inquiry shall be arrested and any doctor arrested in this regard shall be released forthwith subject to his personal bonds to the satisfaction of the deputy registrar (judicial) of the Lahore High Court,â€ the order stated.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 17th, 2012.