LAHORE - Inordinate delay caused by bureaucratic red-tape and apathy on the part of Health Department and King Edward Medical University has deteriorated health of a Cleft Palate patient needing follow up surgery from Radcliffe Infirmary Hospital, Oxford, England.

Abdul Hafeez, father of the poor Muhammad Tayyab, is running from the pillar to the post for the last about one year for the sanction of discretionary grant of the Chief Minister for follow up surgery from abroad but without any fruitful results till today.

In response to the directives from the CM Secretariat, routed through Punjab Health Department for estimated cost of required surgery, Vice Chancellor of prestigious KEMU continued to constitute Special Medical Board one after another without realising that the patient was sent abroad on government expenses for the Cleft Palate surgery in 1991 and now he needed follow up operation from the same institution and not the healthcare centres in Lahore.

Instead of giving the estimated cost of the surgery from abroad, all three SMBs comprising senior consultants from KEMU suggested approaching Jinnah Hospital or Dental Hospital Lahore for further treatment. The SMBs even contradicted the findings of experts at Radcliffe Infirmary Hospital, Oxford, saying ‘no active ENT surgical intervention is required’. The SMB suggested that the rehabilitation procedure could be carried out at any tertiary care hospital and problem of regurgitation could be managed by conservative means. Moreover, surgical correction of the upper lip deformity along with dental problem needed to be addressed by the plastic surgeon in collaboration with orthodontist from Dental Hospital Lahore.

“First surgery of Tayyab was carried out at Mayo Hospital when he was only 4 months old. At the age of 3, he received another surgery at the same institution. With both the surgeries failing to improve condition, I approached CM Secretariat for treatment of Tayyab from abroad. In 1991, Punjab government sanctioned GBP 8500 pound sterling for surgery from Radcliffe Infirmary Hospital, Oxford, England”, said Abdul Hafeez, adding, the surgeons at London hospital corrected mistakes made at Mayo Hospital.

“The plastic surgeon advised me to return back for the rest of the operation as Cleft Palate and Ear Drums could not be repaired completely due to the sensitive conditions. I applied for sanction of GBP20000 as discretionary grant of the CM along with all required documents including recommendations of the plastic surgeon duly verified by the Medical Adviser, Embassy of Pakistan in London”, he said, adding, the CM Secretariat sent the case to the KEMU through Punjab Health Department in May 2014.

“The KEMU VC constituted three SMBs on different stages. Health Department sent back reports of all SMBs with the direction to evaluate estimated cost. The VC has so far not responded to the last letter of department sent about five months back. SMBs examined my son on different occasions. Improper handling has caused deterioration in the condition of my son. It seems that doctors at KEMU have no regard for the government directions and health of my only son,” said Abdul Hafeez, adding that there was complete silence at the Health Department and the KEMU since October 2014.

“I do not know about the right person to ask and where to go for my son’s surgery,” he said.