Probe body holds 3 parties responsible

DGHS headquarters
File photo

The investigation committee formed by the health ministry says there were flaws in the treatment of Mahabuba Rahman Ankhi of Kashipur village in Nangalkot upazila of Cumilla.

Several physicians and the central hospital authorities are responsible for that, the probe committee said, adding that the activities of the liable persons and the organisation were unethical and illegal.

Deceased’s husband Yakub Ali also had some liabilities in the incident. 

The committee has mentioned a total of 14 flaws and illegal and unethical activities. Three physicians are involved in 10 of those activities and the hospital authorities are involved in four.

Besides, Mahbuba's husband Yakub Ali was also involved in four such activities, the probe report said.

Earlier on 11 June, Mahbuba Rahman Ankhi’s newborn baby died at the central hospital. She too died at the hospital later on 18 June.

The police arrested two female physicians of the hospital over the incident after the deceased's husband lodged a complaint with the Dhanmondi police station.

The incident created a stir across the country. It also sparked fierce reactions from the physicians as two of them were sent to jail.

Later, the health ministry formed a probe committee to investigate the incident. The five-member committee submitted the 14-page investigation report to the health ministry in the last week of the last month.

Additional secretary (law) of the health ministry Hossain Ali Khandker was the convener of the committee.

Analysing the probe report and speaking to the hospital authorities, it has been learnt that Sangjukta Saha would encourage people for normal delivery and she was a specialist in normal delivery. She also used to run campaigns on normal delivery on social media Facebook. Mahbuba Rahman Ankhi too was interested in normal delivery.

The probe report says Yakub Ali took her wife to the Titas Upazila Hospital as the labour pain began. The physicians on duty said normal delivery was not possible. She would need surgery. However, the husband and the wife didn’t agree with that.

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Mahbuba was brought to the central hospital in the capital after being assured by the concerned authorities that normal delivery specialist Sangjukta Saha was in the hospital at the time.

The couple was told the same even after reaching the hospital. In reality, Sangjukta Saha was not at the hospital. However, the hospital authorities and several physicians at the hospital, including Sangjukta, herself, hid the matter from Yakub Ali and her wife. 

Allegations against the hospital

The committee has brought four allegations against the central hospital authorities – letting Sangjukta Saha and Muna Saha to practise, though they didn’t renew their registration, hiding Sangjukta Saha’s absence, admitting patients in Sangjukta Saha’s name in her absence and treating patients with other physicians and not taking any action against the illegal campaign on social media Facebook.

Asked about the allegations, Central Hospital director (administration) MA Kashem told Prothom Alo, “Everything in the report is true. You can publish whatever in that probe report.”

Sangjukta cheated the patient

It was already planned that Sangjukta would go abroad after office on 9 June. Before leaving, Sangjukta talked to Mahbuba’s husband Yakub Ali over the phone. She told him to bring her wife to the hospital. However, she didn’t mention that she was going abroad. She didn’t even inform the hospital authorities about her departure.

The probe committee has also brought three other charges against her. She has been accused of exaggerating in her campaign on Facebook about normal delivery. The other accusations against her include admitting and treating patients using her name and giving instructions to Shahajadi Mustarshida to treat patients on her behalf. According to the probe report, Shahjadi Mustarshida ‘does not have any degree in gynaecology’.

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It was not possible to get Sanjukta Saha’s remark on the probe report. When contacted over the phone, this correspondent was told that Sangjukta was out of the country.

However, Sangjukta has disclosed to the probe committee that there is no discipline at the central hospital. The hospital authorities were responsible for the deaths of the mother and her newborn child. Mahububa was admitted without her acknowledgement in her absence.

The husband also had some liabilities

The probe committee has brought four allegations against Mahbuba’s husband. They are – not taking her wife to a specialist, not treating her despite knowing that she had anaemia, being rigid about normal delivery and bringing his wife to Dhaka in a normal vehicle despite knowing that was risky.

Health ministry’s deputy secretary (on additional duty) Umme Habiba has sent the probe report along with a letter to six directorates. Prothom Alo contacted the secretary of the Health Services Division to learn about the steps taken by the ministry following the submission of the probe report. However, he didn’t respond.

*This report appeared on the print and online versions of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Ashish Basu

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