Inept handling of medical issues by media criticised -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Inept handling of medical issues by media criticised

KARACHI: Most participants of an interactive discussion condemned what they called a ‘media trial of doctors’ these days and expressed the concern that the acute lack of professionalism being shown by media persons these days, especially those working with TV channels, had increasingly put the lives and dignity of medical staff at risk.

A section of the media gave news without doing adequate investigation, they said, asserting that journalists must thoroughly explore a subject and provide an opportunity to doctors to explain their version on a news story before making it public.

The event was a part of the 48th annual medical symposium that began at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) on Monday. This year’s theme for the three-day symposium is “Health profession and community: understandings and misunderstandings”.

Instead of raising public awareness on health issues and highlighting the pathetic conditions at public-sector hospitals where medical personnel worked, media channels were more interested in ‘scandalising issues’, they said, adding that this created panic in society and promoted mob justice.

“Doctors are finding it extremely difficult these days to declare death of a patient, fearing a physical harm from attendants. The pressure is so much that doctors at times do not declare death immediately pretending that efforts for saving life are still on until they feel it safe to declare death,” said Prof Dr Tasneem Ahsan, executive director of the JPMC.

Mazhar Abbas, a senior journalist, admitted lapses on the part of reporters and said that today’s journalism lacked investigation. “Unfortunately, journalism is a race against time. If proper investigation was being done by reporters, many doctors and hospitals should have been exposed,” he said while criticising misconduct on the part of both the media and doctors.

There was, however, a consensus among participants for a health commission to check quackery, regulate private hospitals and malpractices.

About the challenges being faced by the health sector, Dr Idrees Adhi lamented that there was no set-up where patients could lodge their complaints against doctors and in this situation, the onus on physicians to conduct themselves ethically became paramount.

Earlier, the symposium was inaugurated by Prof Hassan Aziz, Professor Emeritus at the JMPC, who appreciated the efforts of event organizers. He highlighted the need for educating journalists on medical issues and said that a special cell should be developed for the purpose at government hospitals.

Dr Tariq Rafi, Dr Shershah Syed, Dr Samrina Hashmi, Dr Seemin Jamali, Prof Liaquat Ali, Ghazi Salahuddin, Faisal Qureshi and Huma Bukhari also spoke.
Source: Dawn
Date:3/29/2011