KUWAIT: MP Hamdan Al-Azmi yesterday said he has decided to file a request to grill the health minister at the start of the next parliamentary term in late October over medical errors and mismanagement. Azmi said the grilling against Dr Ali Al- Obaidi will focus on two main issues: Fatal errors by doctors and financial as well as administrative corruption prevailing in all ministry departments, especially under Obaidi. “The health minister tried to calm down the Kuwaiti people after citizen Saud Al- Azmi’s tragic death because of a medical error. He claimed the matter is being investigated, but the next thing we knew was that the doctor responsible for the error had fled the country,” he said, adding that citizens had not felt any change in the quality of health services although the ministry’s budget is KD 1.6 billion. “Public hospitals are full of medical errors, long waiting lists, lost files, unusual crowding and lack of hospital beds,” he underlined, noting that the ministry’s budget had tripled over the past years, jumping from KD 641 million in 2008 to KD 1.6 billion this year.
Azmi added that poor health services at public hospitals had been forcing citizens to seek those services at private ones, some of whom have been taking advantage of citizens’ need for medical treatment. Meanwhile, MP Saud Al- Turaiji blamed Jahra Medical Zone director for Azmi’s death due to a medical error because he had neglected developing health services and focused more on abusing his powers against MoH employees in Jahra.
Turaiji also urged the health minister to form a committee to investigate Azmi’s death and hold whoever is responsible accountable in order to prevent a repetition of the same mistakes. On the other hand, MP Khalil Al-Saleh defended Obaidi, noting that he had immediately referred the issue to the public prosecution and contacted Interpol to arrest and bring the fugitive doctor to justice. “Such measures are institutional,” he stressed.
Saleh expressed hopes that health services would develop further, namely in terms of avoiding medical errors, through setting a package of technical and administrative monitoring and preventive measures that match those internationally adopted in similar cases. He also expressed trust that Obaidi is capable of meeting such demands to protect citizens’ health, especially at casualty departments. Finally, Saleh called for automatically linking patients’ databases in all hospitals and clinics so that doctors in charge of treating any case have access to full medical and health background of patients and provide best needed healthcare
By A Saleh