Set criteria for SOP with foreign patients Dr Deepak Sawant urges Union Health minister JP Nadda

The proposal comes after the ugly spat between Eman Ahmed’s sister Shaimaa Selim and Saifee Hospital, wherein the doctors were alleged of negligence towards Eman, state health minister wants a procedure in place to avoid any maligning of doctors of India in future

No more the world’s heaviest woman, Eman Ahmed begins her journey to Abu Dhabi
Exclusive picture of Eman Ahmed leaving Saifee Hospital with sister Shaimaa Selim, Maharashtra’s Health Minister Dr Deepak Sawant and Saifee Hospital staff

Just a day after State Health Minister Dr Deepak Sawant had proposed the idea to formulate a standard operative procedure (SOP) for foreign patients coming to India for medical treatment, Dr Sawant has put forth his demand to Union Health Minister JP Nadda, who was present in Mumbai to inaugurate the National Conference on ‘Developing Quality Essential Health Care Services’ at Marine Lines.

Present at the event, Dr Sawant said there needs to be a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between two countries for foreign patients taking treatment in India so that the image of our doctors does not get maligned due to any unworthy allegations.

“Standard Operative Procedure (SOP) and set criteria is needed when a foreign patient seeks treatment in India. What type of treatment the patient will get and how long it will take are some of the crucial points that needs to be on paper,” added Dr Sawant.

Dr Sawant’s proposal comes against the backdrop of the much-publicised tiff between Eman Ahmed’s sister, Shaimaa Selim and Saifee Hospital. Eman Ahmed, a 36-year-old Egyptian, was brought to India for her obesity treatment early this year. After undergoing a bariatric surgery, Eman had reduced from earlier 500kg, making her the world’s heaviest woman, to 170kg while leaving India on May 4. She stayed for 83 days at Mumbai’s Saifee Hospital.

After the much-publicised displeasure of Shaimaa on the course of treatment given to Eman by Saifee Hospital, a team of doctors from Burjeel Hospital in Abu Dhabi promised to continue her further treatment. In the sequence of events, Shaimaa not only levelled charges against her surgeon, Dr Muffazal Lakdawala, calling him a ‘liar’, she also released video on social media claiming that Eman’s health was deteriorating. Dr Sawant had visited Eman on April 27 soon after Shaimaa had levied allegations and had given a clean chit to Dr Lakdawala.

Eman says good-bye to Mumbai and begins journey to Abu Dhabi
Eman on board the aircraft to Abu Dhabi

On the day of Eman’s departure, Shaimaa refused to sign a 28-page transfer report prepared by Saifee Hospital, and agreed only after timely intervention of Dr Sawant.

Meanwhile, speaking at the event, Nadda said it is high time that the focus shifts from disease-specific training to preventive, promotional and comprehensive health strategy.

“We have done a good job in neonatal care, HIV, tuberculosis, polio, maternal mortality rate, infant mortality rate among others, but still we need to work on waterborne disease, environment, and pollution. To achieve this comprehensive work needs to be done,” said Nadda.

He also stressed on a point to provide good health-care service and high quality work in health-sector is important.

“Standard Operative Procedure must be followed by all the medical faculties to give qualitative health-care to the public. For this, Family Welfare Training and Research Centre must create a comprehensive paper within next four months and also ‘Need Gap Analysis’ should be done to achieve sustainable developmental goal (SDG),” said Nadda.