The seven-year-old Faeza who passed away while she was under treatment in Balk regional hospital

How seven-year-old Faeza passes away in a public hospital in Balkh

The war-torn Afghanistan is country where health service is very poor. Most Afghans who can afford take their patients to the neighboring Pakistan, Iran and India for treatment.        

The 44 year-old Hussain Mohammadi claimed that his seven-year-old daughter dies in Balkh regional hospital for doctors in the hospital misdiagnosed her. The 44-year-old father said her baby girl, Faeza, was fine and sound when he left home but two days later he received the sad news of her death.        

Abdul Hussain Mohammadi, says his wife Zahra takes their seven-year-old girl, Faeza, to Balkh regional hospital immediately after Faeza feels a sudden attack of nausea. On their arrival, Dr. Bashir Sanayee, who is in-charge of children ward in the hospital, treats Fayeeza along with her mother badly and refuses to admit her despite repeated pleas Zahra makes from 9 am to 12 pm.     

As Faeza’s condition becomes more critical, the 32-year-old Zahra, resolves to take her baby girl to a private clinic—run by physician named Doctor Ahmad Hamid Payman who is officially employed by Balkh regional hospital.  Dr. Payman calls his colleague Basheer Sanayee via cellphone, and asks him to hospitalize the patient. Zahra along with her sick baby rush back to hospital but Mr. Sanayee again hesitates to admit Faeza.

Zahra, worried and wary about the health condition of her baby, requests a nurse to help her admit her daughter in the hospital. By the help of the nurse, she finally manages to hospitalize her daughter.

Zahra recalls how her seven-year-old daughter, began crying out and vomiting after a nurse inoculated her an injection.

Seeing her daughter in pain, Zahra yells loud until a physician visits Faeza, and takes her to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to give her oxygen. Zahra complains there was no oxygen cylinder in the ICU and the nurse, too, hesitated to give her first aid. Faeza passes away when the doctors were struggling to give oxygen to her from an oxygen cylinder that was being used for another patient.  

Following the death of her daughter, Mr. Mohammadi filed a complaint against Basheer Sanayee on Sunday September 29.

Afghanistan is a country where health services are poor and the country’s ministry of public health—despite receiving millions of dollar aid—has failed to build healthcare system. Years of war, bad-governance and poverty have added to the problems in health sector.

On average, a doctor working in government hospitals makes between 151-189 dollars a month even as the Afghani continues to decline in value. Most doctors who are working in government hospitals run private clinics too, and most often they deliberately refuse to treat patients in public hospitals.

Now that they have killed my seven years old daughter, I ask you to bring the culprits to justice and do not let such physicians work in this city, Mohammadi wrote in his complaint letter.

Balkh provincial prosecution office says it has referred the case to Balkh police directorate, and has asked it to investigate the case. Rafi, an official in Balkh prosecution office, said that the provincial public health directorate has tasked a five-member committee to investigate the case. According to him, Basheer Sanayee refuses to take responsibility for the death and claims that Faeza’s death has been caused by the injection inoculated by a nurse.

Officials in Balkh police department say they have received instruction to investigate the death case of the seven years old girl. Faiz Mohammad Khan, criminal deputy manager at the police department, said that they will collect documents and evidences within 72 hours and will send all documents to the prosecution office for further investigations.

Meanwhile, Khwaja Noor Mohammad Faiz, head of Balkh regional hospital, says that Dr. Sanayee, the physician, had been occupied with another critical patient by the time Zahra took Faeza to hospital.

“The doctors have not committed negligence,” he claimed, saying that Faeza’s death has been caused a drug allergy.

The suspect physician has not been arrested or taken under custody.

Faiz states that police had come to arrest Basheer Sanayee but they did not allow them to arrest the physician as it was a disrespectful move. “We believe the doctor has not committed any crime. We have assigned a team of doctors to assess the case,” he said, noting that their initial investigation suggests it was caused by drug allergy.

Mohammadi says the hospital authorities instructed his wife to bury Faeza’s dead body immediately after she passed away in the ICU unit of the hospital—objecting why they did not send the body to forensic medicine center for postmortem.  

But Faiz says that they will send a dead body to forensic medicine center only upon requests by the security institutions or the family of the dead body. He further states that the family did not ask them to send Faeza’s dead body for postmortem. “If her family wanted, the doctors would have sent the dead body to forensic medicine center,” Faizi said.

Mohammadi says he was on travel on Thursday, September 26—the day his daughter died—but the doctors told his wife, Zahra, that there was no need for postmortem.  

After Mohammadi posted the death story of his seven-year-old daughter on his Facebook account, many residents of Balkh, began to share painful stories and sad experiences they had from government hospital in Balkh. They accused the hospital authorities of corruption, mismanagement and abuse of authority.   

Haroon Assadi, a resident of the province, says once he took a patient to the hospital and the doctors prescribed the patient to take medicines even without having examined him.

“Once I got sick and visited Balkh hospital; the physician behaved in inhumane way, this must stop,” says Yousuf Rahmani who was forced to go to private hospital after being neglected by doctors in the government hospital.

“The staffs and doctors of this hospital know nothing about medical ethic and they are just caring about money,” Abdul Qasem Hussaini says. “The hospital administrators should be prosecuted when they are proved incapable of delivering services,” Hussini said.

Mr. Faiz acknowledges that there are a number of shortcomings in the hospital but he complains about lack of facilities. Between 1,500 to 3,000 patients come to receive treatment on daily basis, he notes.

Public health centers in Afghanistan come under attack when a case such as the death of Faeza happens. Public trust in health sector is shrinking and most Afghans who can afford take their patients to the neighboring Pakistan and India for treatment.