The demonstrations against ADK Hospital following the tragic deaths of 37-year-old pre-school teacher Aishath Shaheen Mohamed and her unborn baby following a caesarian section on Monday brings to sharp focus yet again the increasing frequency of suspected cases of medical malpractice in the Maldives. The few cases that have gone up to the court, thanks to pro-bono lawyer Husnu Suood, such as those of Ali Zakhwan and Aishath Iyan are just the tip of the iceberg. Even those two cases are still pending in the court.
Shaheen, who had a past history of 2 caesarean deliveries, was admitted to ADK Hospital on 19th April. She was taken up for surgery the following day after her baby was diagnosed dead by hospital doctors. Her condition worsened following surgery and was referred to Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital, where she died soon after.
The matter is under investigation by Maldives Police Services as well as ADK Hospital. Thus it is inappropriate to express any opinions here that would compromise the investigation. However, in the interest of preventing future mishaps certain points must be noted.
- Is there an internal system in any Maldivian hospital to review complications and deaths proactively? Or is the system geared to hush up mishaps unless relatives complain or demonstrate?
- So far we have only heard about Police and ADK investigations. Where is the Health Ministry investigation; and is the Medical Council sleeping?
- One protester, Fathimath Shirmeela, is reported to have said it was imperative the government carried out comprehensive checks on foreign doctors and their qualifications. Is the Medical Council in a position to clear her doubts and concerns?
- Another protestor, Hawwa Riyaza, said the purpose of the protest was to raise awareness about the poor service at the hospital. How accurate is her statement on quality? Is there an objective way to measure quality in ADK or any other hospital? Whose responsibility is it to ensure that each hospital has a system of quality assurance?
- Is it left to Husnu Suood to single-handedly tackle the issue of medical malpractice in the country?