MULTAN-The Punjab Healthcare Commission (PHC) has initiated an inquest into the deaths of quintuplets due to the alleged denial of hospital admission to the neonates and their mother by hospitals in Multan and Muzaffargarh, The Nation has learnt.

Sources revealed that a two-member team of the commission led by Deputy Director (Complaints) Dr Wajid Ali visited Multan and Muzaffargarh to investigate into the matter.

The team went to Nishtar Hospital, Children Complex Hospital and a private healthcare outlet on Abdali Road to record statements of the doctors accused by Qari Abdul Ghafoor, father of the quintuplets, for negligence and denying healthcare facility to his wife and new-borns.

When contacted, Dr Wajid Ali confirmed that the team had visited Multan to investigate into the matter. "Yes, we visited Multan and talked to the complainant besides recording statements of doctors at Nishtar, Children Complex and other hospitals," he added while talking to this correspondent. The team remained in Multan for three days and returned Lahore on Friday.

The issue was taken up by the commission following publication of a news regarding deaths of quintuplets in The Nation on October 7. The Chief Operating Officer of the Commission Dr. Muhammad Ajmal Khan took notice of the plight of the poor family and ordered an inquiry into the tragic deaths of three of the quintuplets.

Hazrat Bibi, wife of Qari Abdul Ghafoor, a prayer leader in a remote village of Muzaffargarh, gave birth to five premature babies on Eid day, 2nd of September, out of which three lost their lives. Their father held medics responsible for the deaths of three neonates. He alleged that first the doctors at five big hospitals of Multan and Muzaffargarh denied his wife admission during her highly critical labour condition and then they refused to admit his new-born quintuplets.

After having denied treatment and consequently losing three quints-Abdullah, Muhammad and Sahra-in Multan, Qari travelled all the way to Toba Tek Singh district along with the remaining two-Ahmad and Zahra-to a charity hospital where they were placed in incubators in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

When asked how long it would take the committee to give its verdict, Dr Wajid Ali said that it would take the inquiry committee a few more days to draw the conclusion. "We've recorded the statements and we'll analyse them as soon as we reach Lahore. At this stage it is difficult to say who is responsible for this all. Let's analyse the statements," he added while answering a question that whether or not the allegations of Qari were true.

Another inquiry into the same incident, ordered by Deputy Commissioner (DC) Multan Nadir Chattha, is also underway. Talking to The Nation, the DC confirmed that a two-member inquiry committee comprising Malik Muhammad Shafiq, Additional Deputy Commissioner (HQ), and Mubashir Rehman, AC City, was investigating into the matter. "The committee has recorded statements of the complainant and the accused and now it is compiling its report," he added. He said that he had taken immediate notice of the issue as soon as he learnt about it and sought explanations from the doctors. He added that the reports submitted by the medical superintendents of Nishtar and Children Complex Hospitals were not satisfactory which prompted him to constitute a committee.