NEWS

Doctor Defends Actions As Security Guard Dies Metres From Her Medical Centre

‘I had so many patients’
08 May 2019 13:08
Doctor Defends Actions As Security Guard Dies Metres From Her Medical Centre
Dr Monita Sharma of Dr Sharma’s Medical Centre while talking to Fiji Sun on May 7, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

A private doctor yesterday defended her response to an emergency call after a security guard collapsed and later died at a shopping mall in Nakasi, Nasinu.

The incident occurred on Monday at the Tebara Plaza.

Dr Monita Sharma, who operates a medical centre there, said she could not abandon her patients to attend to the dying man believed to be in his 40s.

She was trying to set the record straight amid controversy that she failed in her duty as a medical professional to attend to an emergency.

The girl who sought her help, Adi Taufa Lalabalavu, claimed that Dr Sharma told her to take the man to the nearest hospital.

People at the scene could not believe the doctor’s response.
Doctor’s defence

Dr Sharma defended her response to the situation on the grounds that she could not leave her patients inside her clinic to attend to the man who collapsed outside.

“I had about 12 patients waiting and I had three patients on drips and one undergoing ECG,” she said.

“The patients in the clinic are under my care, I cannot leave them to rush to another person. I had to be at the clinic, the patients on the road, they are not under my care.”

Dr Sharma added that if the clinic had been empty, she could have rushed out to help the man.

“If I have stable patients here, and I know that they can wait, I definitely will rush out. I have done that in the past,” she said.
Response from authorities

The Tebara Plaza in Nakasi where a security guard collapsed and died on Monday just metres from a medical centre.  Photo: Ronald Kumar

The Tebara Plaza in Nakasi where a security guard collapsed and died on Monday just metres from a medical centre. Photo: Ronald Kumar

The President of Fiji College of General Practitioners, Dr John Fatiaki, expressed his disappointment that such an incident had occurred.

He said they expected their members to keep up with the general principles of ethical behaviour.

“We expect a doctor to respond in a timely and appropriate manner immediately to any request for assistance, particularly in emergencies,” Dr Fatiaki said.

“We are disappointed that in this incident, it did not occur.”

He said if there was an issue of conduct, then there was a process by which the complainant could lodge a complaint with Fiji Medical and Dental Council Secretariat for investigations.

“A formal complaint can be lodged about the doctor in terms of his or her response.

“The complaint will be investigated and upon investigation there can be a process of censure, there could be a letter written to express the council’s disappointment, he or she can be put on probation, and in the worst-case scenario, the doctor can be disbarred, which means the doctor can be removed or de-registered,” Dr Fatiaki said.

Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete said doctors were bound by duty irrespective of whether they are public or private medical practitioners.

“As a doctor, you are duty bound so if somebody is in need, you have to help them,” Dr Waqainabete said.

“So, if that has happened, it is unacceptable.

“We are duty bound ethically, we swear on the Hippocratic Oath to consecrate our lives to the service of humanity, so we need to be true to the values of that oath.”

Edited by Epineri Vula.

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