A Sadiqabad-based taxi driver, who recently underwent treatment for health complications caused by obesity, passed away on Monday after he was left unattended due to commotion in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a hospital in Lahore.
Noorul Hassan, weighing 330 kg, had made national headlines last month when he was air lifted on a Pakistan Army helicopter to Lahore for treatment on special directives from Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
According to 55-year-old Noor's doctor, Dr Maazul Hassan, a top laparoscopic surgeon in Lahore, a female patient had passed away at the Shalamar Hospital today after which her relatives reached the hospital and expressed concern about her death.
In the chaos that ensued, Noor and a second patient died "due to the unavailability of staff", Dr Maaz said while speaking to DawnNewsTV. He added that the relatives of the female patient had not intended to cause the deaths but the situation worsened due to the violence.
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Additional medical superintendents (AMS) Dr Rizwan and Dr Nayar said that relatives of the female patient had broken windows, switched ventilators off and hit doctors. They added that nurses had left the ICU during the commotion.
A spokesperson for the hospital said that they were investigating the incident and needed to look at CCTV footage. The spokesperson said that chaos had broken out in the hospital during which everyone was trying to save themselves.
Dr Maaz said that he was not present in the hospital during the episode but was told that "a lot of damage" had been caused.
He explained that while the chaos was taking place, Noor was feeling unwell and was left unattended for nearly an hour.
"When they (hospital staff) noted this, they attempted to resuscitate him but were unable to successfully to do so," Dr Maaz said.
"You can't directly blame anyone but staff should have been present," he said.
A spokesperson for the Punjab Healthcare Commission confirmed the deaths while announcing that a three-member committee had been formed that had started investigations.
Dr Maaz said that just yesterday, Noor's family had shared the positive progress his health had made. He said that the patient had been kept on elective ventilation after he experienced breathing problems so that he could be discharged after six or seven days.
He said that Noor's death had occurred at 8:15am.
Noor's son said that doctors were not responsible for his father's death. He said that Noor was to be removed from the ventilator today. His wife added that doctors had said that her husband had suffered a heart attack.
Noor — a resident of Mohallah Islampura in Sadiqabad — had appealed to Gen Bajwa on social media to take notice of his predicament and assist him in seeking treatment.
Sadiqabad Assistant Commissioner Kashif Dogar had told Dawn that Noor could not travel in an ambulance by road due to his weight and that he was a poor taxi driver who resided in a small house.
During the process of shifting him, Rescue 1122 personnel had broken the main door and wall of Hassan's house to bring him out. Dogar said the rescue team had shifted Hassan onto a mini truck and transported him to a football ground in Sadiqabad where a helipad was fashioned for the air ambulance's landing.