LAHORE: One of the leading hospitals in Lahore, Surgimed Hospital has come under intense scrutiny after the family of a deceased patient claimed that the hospital shifted a patient to the COVID-19 ward only to charge 110,000 PKR per day.
Ms Asia, from Sialkot had surgery at Surgimed Hospital a few months back and had been visiting the hospital for post surgery case and check ups regularly.
During one of these check-ups, however, the doctor said that the results were worrying, and that she needed to be admitted to the hospital to receive the required treatment.
After the seventh day of being admitted, the patient’s family was told that she had to be moved to the Intensive Care Unit. A day later, the family was told that informed that the patient, Asia was COVID positive.
The family decided to get an independent Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test for the patient taken from a different laboratory, the results of which showed that she the Covid-19 had not been detected. Upon learning this, the family demanded to see the test which was undertaken by the hospital laboratory, but the hospital refused to hand over the results.
Despite the hospital trying to keep the test results from the family, the family eventually got a hold of the document, which revealed that the virus had not been detected.
The test conducted by Surgimed Hospital which claimes that the patient Asia tested positive is a false result according to the family. The hospital changed Asia’s husband’s name to Asif when it was Arif for plausible deniability, the family alleges.
The family then said that they got a test done independently and the result, once again, revealed that the virus had not been detected. They then insisted that the patient be moved out of the coronavirus ward and be treated as she was before being shifted. Allegedly, the doctor on duty at the time agreed, and asked the family to not involve the media or the authorities regarding the matter.
In the video produced above, the doctor agreed to shift the patient away from the COVID-19 ward.
In a video which has been shared with TPD Investigations Desk by the deceased’s family, the doctor from Surgimed accepts that the patient did not have COVID-19.
Later on, the patient still wasn’t shifted away from the COVID-19 ward, resulting in an argument between the staff and the family.
The lady passed away later on. The family alleges that her life could have been saved if it weren’t for the negligence or greed of Surgimed Hospital.
A son of the deceased told The Pakistan Daily, “Dr Hamid who was the duty doctor told us on oath not to take any further action we shift your mother from corona ward to normal room but don’t give these videos to the media or any other authorities when they were moving my mother from corona ward to normal room she had breathing problem coz off all this negligence my mother didn’t get proper treatment and she died.”
The family claims to have further evidence of wrongdoing of Surgimed and says that they will reach out to the Government of Pakistan to ensure justice for their mother.
TPD Investigations Desk had exclusive conversations with Dr Zafar Iqbal.
Dr Zafar Iqbal, who serves as a director at Surgimed Hospital and also heads their Lab confirmed that Asia had contracted COVID-19 and he had blood samples to prove it.
Commenting on the negative test result from Chughtai Labs, Dr Zafar Iqbal said, “The result coming back negative was due to the fact that sometimes the virus moves on from the nose and throat into the bloodstream which is why it can’t be detected using a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test as it relies on a swab to collect viral RNA from inside the nose. Other signifiers such as high levels of Immunoglobulin M (IgM) and the fact that the patient’s symptoms were in line with those that the virus causes were reasons to believe that the patient had indeed contracted the virus.”
Dr Zafar Iqbal added, “These dark color Lymphocytes are produced in the blood of the Covid 19 pts and at the same time Serum of pts shows increased Ig M levels which is usually in 9 to 11 days .Then IgM starts decreasing and IgG antibodies start increasing which may remain there for about 4 to 10 months.Pts may show PCR negative from Nose and throat secretions.”
“IgG and IgM antibodies give the past history of the Covid 19 Viral infection and pt PCR can be negative within few days.”
The doctor, who himself suffered from COVID-19 claimed that it was normal for PCR tests to come negative after the virus had spread away from the neck to the body.