Two government hospitals in Pakistan have denied a specialised cardiac ambulance facility for emergency medical cover to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in a Jail here, according to a media report.
The Punjab Prisons Department had requested the health higher-ups to provide a fully-equipped ambulance to station it in the Central Jail to shift Sharif to any hospital in case of any emergency. The request was submitted on finding that the ambulance made available in the jail is insufficiently equipped, the Dawn reported.
The health department had been asked for a specialised cardiac ambulance equipped with a defibrillator, cardiac monitor, ventilator and ECG machine. A defibrillator helps save life by giving a high-energy electric shock to the heart of a patient in case of cardiac arrest.
The government hospitals refused to provide a specialised cardiac ambulance to Sharif “because of heavy burden of medical cover to the VIP, VVIPs and their families," the daily reported.
“There is a heavy burden of medical cover to the VIPs, VVIPs, foreign delegations and honourable members of the provincial assembly, and judiciary and their families...,” reads one of the official replies to the health department.
This stance was take up by a government hospital’s medical superintendent while giving response to the official correspondence of the health department, the daily said.
The request was sent to the Punjab Institute of Cardiology and the Services Hospital, Lahore to provide a specialised cardiac ambulance with driver for Sharif.
The medical superintendent of the Services Hospital further wrote to the authorities that his health facility was already facing an acute shortage of ambulances. He said his institute was unable to meet this requirement because it already had handed over three ambulances to the Rescue 1122 in 2017, said a letter.
Sharif, 69, has been serving a seven-year prison term at the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore since December 24, 2018 when an accountability court convicted him in one of the three corruption cases filed in the wake of the apex court's July 28, 2017 order in Panama Papers case.
The provision of "inadequate" healthcare to the incarcerated PML-N leader by the Punjab government has generated controversy, bringing the two political parties – PML-N and PTI – to the verge of collision course.
The situation turned unpleasant when the PTI government in Punjab constituted four medical boards within a short span of time for the treatment of Sharif and the PML-N said these were delaying tactics that could risk the life of the three-time prime minister, the daily said.