Public hospitals in Southern Kurdistan must be held accountable for negligence


Public hospitals in Southern Kurdistan suffer from lack of independent bodies monitoring the services provided by doctors, nurses and staff members. There are no avenues for accountability, particularly where medical malpractice and negligence is concerned. In one of our visits to the hospital of Rizgari in the province of Hewler, Southern Kurdistan, we interviewed patients to see if they were satisfied with the services provided.

The mother of 11-year-old Ibrahim spoke to us briefly on the services provided, “We have to chase the doctors to come and check up on patients. Even the nurses look down on us. It is as if they are doing us a favour, and we are mere dirt here to bother them”. Her husband added, “There are no adequate services anywhere within this hospital. For instance, this ward has no air conditioner and as you can see we are all sweating. This isn’t what a hospital is supposed to be like, but who will listen or care about our voices?”.

Mahmoud who had hurt his arm quite badly was covered in a blanket with flies circulating around him, and despite the scorching summer weather in Kurdistan there were no fans or air conditioners available in his ward. When asked regarding the services provided at this hospital, he said, “If I was not in so much pain, I would not be here. I can’t afford to be in a private hospital but by God if I were able to pay I would because there are simply no services provided here. The doctors think of themselves as Gods. They are rude, impatient, and insult us at every chance they get”.

We went around the hospital and took some pictures. For instance, the picture below is the wall of the main reception area. It is torn apart, with remnants of previous pamphlets. The floors were bumpy with large cracks and holes. When we asked one of the staff members regarding the wall’s condition, they refused to comment.

Inside the reception area at Rizgari hospital.

Rubbish and unused material left surrounding the hospital similar to this were found in many places.

Cracks like this were found in dozens of places around the hospital.

Most of the halls where patients were waiting to see doctors were full of people. The rooms were without air conditioner, and this resulted in an overwhelming and overpowering smell of sweat around the room.

Overcrowded small room with patients waiting to be seen.

The rooms where the blankets for patients are stored was small, with bugs on the floor. The staff member was sitting down with the radio on, a fan and schedule. He allowed us to take a picture, smiling, saying, “We are better organised most of the time”. These blankets are used by patients, and it is a health hazard if they are simply left on the floor. Secondly, instead of providing patients with blankets during the current hot summer weather, they should consider giving them white sheet, stored properly.

The blankets handed out to patients to use during their stay in the storage area.