Patients die as hundreds of lawyers storm hospital to settle score with doctors in Lahore
Lahore: At least five critically ill patients died on 11th December after hundreds of lawyers stormed and ransacked a hospital in the city to settle an old score with doctors, officials said.
A large number of lawyers forced their entry into Lahore's Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) to avenge what they said was an assault by doctors on a fellow advocate two week ago. As the rowdy lawyers entered the hospital the doctors and paramedical staff ran for their lives leaving the patients unattended. Even those doctors who were in the middle of carrying out operations fled, officials said.
The lawyers beat some of the fleeing doctors and paramedics and also journalists covering the incident. A lady doctor and a female reporter were among the injured. The lawyers also set a police van on fire. The policemen deployed at the hospital too ran for their lives, eyewitnesses said. They also smashed door and windows, damaged a number of cars parked at the health facility and broke cameras of some journalists, they added. Punjab Information Minister Fayyazul Hasan Chohan, who was also manhandled by lawyers, told reporters that at least five patients in critical condition lost their lives because of the "attack" of some 4,000 lawyers on the hospital.
"Even in the war time hospitals are spared but the unruly lawyers today crossed every limit and attacked a health facility causing the death of five patients and injuries to the doctors and paramedics," he said. Later, the Rangers and riot police were called to control the situation. "Police have arrested 10 lawyers. They are conducting raids to arrest those involved in the attack on doctors at the PIC. The law enforcement agencies have controlled the situation and deployed heavy contingent of police at the hospital," a Lahore police spokesperson said in a statement.
He said action will be taken against those responsible for the violence. Prime Minister Imran Khan took notice of the incident and sought a report from the Punjab Inspector General Police. According to a senior lawyer, the protesting lawyers turned violent following a video that went viral on social media in which a doctor is seen shaming lawyers for their earlier "attack" on doctors of PIC. Young Consultants Association (YCA) announced a nationwide strike on Thursday after the attack on doctors.
"Tomorrow no doctor will be on duty across Punjab to protest the lawyers' attack on doctors and paramedics of PIC. A murder case should be registered against those responsible for this violence," said YCA president Hammad Butt.