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HC orders to fine three doctors of Cancer Hospital Tk 0.5m each

FE REPORT | November 11, 2020 00:00:00

The High Court on Tuesday ordered the health secretary to fine one serving physician and two former physicians of the National Institute of Cancer Research and Hospital (NICRH) Tk 0.5 million each for their negligence in installing, preserving and utilising eight high-end ventilators purchased for the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the institution.

The doctors are -- AAM Shariful Alam, Molla Obaidullah and Manosh Kumar Bose. Among them, Dr AAM Shariful Alam and Molla Obaidullah went on retirement in 2009 and 2013 respectively.

The fined money will be deposited to the development fund of the hospital, said the court.

The court also ordered the secretary to form a three-member committee for conducting a probe into if Prof Dr Md Moarraf Hossen, outgoing director of the NICRH, had any negligence in his part in installing, preserving and utilising the ventilators.

If his negligence is proved, he also will have to pay compensation of Tk 0.5 million like other three officers.

The High Court bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Jutice Md Mostafizur Rahman passed the directions while delivering a judgment upon hearing a suo moto (voluntary) rule issued earlier in this regard.

The court also issued some directions for ensuring transparency in purchasing and maintaining of medical equipment.

The court asked the authorities to determine the needs of the organisation by an expert committee before purchasing medical equipment and purchase the best quality products as per the government procurement rule.

Following a newspaper report the same High Court bench on January 02 this year issued a rule to explain as to why the negligence of the respondents in installing, preserving and utilising eight high-end ventilators purchased for the ICU of the NICRH should not be declared illegal.

Barrister Monoj Kumar Bhoumik, a Supreme Court lawyer, brought the report to the attention of the court.

The court that time directed the government to suspend the LPR (leave preparatory to retirement) facilities of the outgoing director of NICRH Prof Dr Md Moarraf Hossen till dispose of the rule. But in the judgment on Tuesday, the HC lifted the ban imposed upon Dr Moarraf's LPR facilities.

The lawyer said, "This report was largely related to the public interest. After purchasing the expensive equipment, the NICRH authorities had abandoned them for years without proper installation. In addition to economic loss, people were deprived of proper treatment due to this negligence."

"This is a clear negligence to the right of the people to be protected by the Constitution. That is why I brought the report cutting to the attention of the court. The court passed order after hearing," the lawyer added.

The published report said, "More than 12 years ago, the National Institute of Cancer Research and Hospital authorities had purchased eight high-end ventilators for its Intensive Care Unit. But the Artificial Respiratory Ventilators (ARVs), the basic device required for running an ICU properly, had never been installed, depriving the critical patients of the medical services they are supposed to get at ICU."

"Surprisingly though, the lifesaving devices -- each bought for Tk 7.0 million at that time -- are now left uncared for in a corner inside the ICU," added the report.

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