HC fines 3 cancer hospital officials

The High Court has fined three former and current officials of the National Institute of Cancer Research and Hospital or NICRH for negligence in the installation of high-quality ventilators at Intensive Care Unit.
Their offences include not maintaining and properly using the life-saving devices.

The bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman on Tuesday ordered each of them to pay Tk 500,000 to the hospital’s welfare fund.

The officials are AMM Shariful Alam, Molla Obaidullah and Manas Kumar Basu. The first two have retired. Basu was in charge of the ICU.

Former director of the Cancer Institute Moarraf Hossen, a former director of the institute, has claimed that he had earlier requested the National Electro Medical Equipment Maintenance Workshop and Training Centre or NEMEMW and TC to activate the ventilators in two letters in 2014 and 2015.

The court has ordered institution of an inquiry committee comprising three top officials from the health ministry, Directorate General of Health Services and the cancer institute to investigate his claim and report back within 15 working days.

Moarraf will have to pay Tk 500,000 in fines if the investigators find no evidence of his claim.

Md Abdul Kaiyum, the then in-charge of the matter at the NEMEMW and TC, and Joint Secretary Rezanur Rahman will have to pay Tk 500,000 each if it is proved that they did not take action after receiving Moarraf’s letters.

After a lawyer drew the court’s attention to a report, it issued a rule on Jul 2 asking the authorities why negligence in the installation of high-quality artificial respiratory ventilators at the government-run cancer hospital’s ICU should not be deemed illegal.

Almost 12 years ago, the National Institute of Cancer Research and Hospital, or NICRH, purchased eight high-end ventilators, each costing Tk 7 million at the time, for the intensive care unit, according to the report.

However, those artificial respiratory ventilators were never installed. As a result, the critically ill patients were deprived of the treatment they were supposed to receive.

Currently, there is no facility at the hospital’s ICU for this type of treatment.

A central oxygen system was set up more than three years ago, but the ventilators were not installed, according to the report by The Daily Star. In the meantime, the motherboards of the ventilators have been stolen, rendering the machines dysfunctional.