PIH ordered to divulge records

Main Stories, National

The National, Friday 7th June 2013


THE private Pacific International Hospital (PIH) was this week asked by the Coroner’s Court to furnish all records of a patient who died under its care on May 29.

Lawyer Peter Kuman says this is the start of matter that could end up with him suing the hospital to expose what he claims are serious ethical and patient management issues leading to the death of his father, Paul Kuman.

Kuman obtained the coronial orders on June 4, directing PIH to release within three days clinical notes, drug sheets, nurses and doctors attendance sheets for May 28 and 29 at the ICU ward, CT scan and X-ray results and all other relevant information.

A PIH representative said yesterday a report had been prepared and given the Kuman fa­mily but patient records and information could not be given out.

Kuman confirmed last night receipt of a medical report which he said a doctor at the hospital described as “glowing” over the phone to him but not the files requested. 

The interim orders are returnable today.

Kuman said he was engaging his own firm, Peter Kuman Lawyers, to take a civil suit against the hospital when he returned from burying his father in their Guglong village, Kerowagi district, Chimbu.

A list of questions in relation to the case was emailed twice to PIH medical director Paul Alexander yesterday but there was no response at time of going to press.

Paul Kuman fell ill on May 19 complaining of knee pain, dizziness, numbness on the left side of his leg and speech impairment.

He was admitted at Sir Joseph Nombri Memorial Hospital in Kundiawa the next day and diagnosed with very high blood pressure. 

As there was no CT scan facility at Kundiawa, it was arranged to fly him to Port Moresby.

His son arranged Pacific Medivac to fly him to Port Moresby at the cost of K45,000 on May 24 and to be admitted at the PIH intensive care unit. 

The bill for hospital care came to K38,619.

Paul Kuman passed away last Wednesday morning. 

A post-mortem has been conducted and his body will be flown to Chimbu tomorrow.

In his affidavit to the Coroner’s Court, Kuman alleged that the family was starved of critical information, were refused a guardian and visits.

Said Kuman yesterday: “The family and I have been kept in the dark by PIH on diagnose, treatment and care they gave my late father but from the information I have been able to collect, I am sure PIH has some explanation to do in court.

“I have explained to them that I am going for broke on this case.”

He said the coroner’s inquest was the start. 

He said he had options to take the case up as a civil suit in the National Court and as a breach of ethics and duty of care before the medical board of PNG.