Aga Khan University Hospital not to renew contract of doctor

Karachi:November 5:The Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) has decided not to renew the contract of the doctor who came under fire for sending a Facebook friend request to Oscar-winner Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy’s sister, putting him on suspension till his contract expires next month, The News has learnt.

The AKUH medical officer, who specialises in critical care and emergency medicine, was suspended by the hospital administration after Sharmeen tweeted last week that a doctor tending to her sister at AKUH’s emergency room had sent her a Facebook friend request after she had left.

The two-time Oscar winner’s tweets stirred a heated debate on social media where thousands criticised her for using her position and influence to deprive a doctor of his livelihood, while several others backed her stance arguing that the doctor’s move was “immoral and unethical”.

Even the doctors and paramedics at the hospital were keenly awaiting the outcome of the case. Some senior professors, faculty and department heads had requested the administration not to fire the doctor, while other staff members were of the opinion that his name should be made public and he should be fired to restore patients’ confidence in AKUH.

Several AKUH officials told The News that CEO Johannes (Hans) Theodorus Kedzierski, the heads of human resources and marketing departments as well as the heads of the university and Aga Khan Foundation have remained in consultations over the past few days over the fate of the senior doctor and how to deal with the fiasco which is tarnishing AKUH’s reputation.

Officials at AKUH confirmed to The News that the medical officer, who is in his mid-30s and married with children, was suspended after Sharmeen’s tweets and it was decided not to let him work at the hospital after consultations with the legal department.

“Initially, it was decided that the doctor would be allowed to continue working after the issuance of some warning letter and disciplining him, but later on, it was decided that he would remain suspended till the expiry of his contract,” a senior AKUH official told The News on the condition of anonymity.

He added that the contract will not be renewed and that the doctor in question will not be “discharged dishonourably” as it was being assumed.

According to him, the doctor’s identity is not going to be revealed to the media, all his salaries and dues will be paid and he will be given the necessary recommendations based on his work, experience and qualification.

AKUH officials further claimed that the doctor himself was satisfied with the arrangement and he too thought that it would be better for him to leave the hospital and remain in isolation till the dust settles.

Meanwhile, the AKUH administration which regularly uses Facebook to promote its health services and campaigns, has decided to come up with a comprehensive social media policy for its staff including doctors, nurses, paramedics, management officials and even the students, the official said.The news.