Poisoning Claims: Medical Team Gives Bushra Bibi Clean Bill Of Health

A four-member medical team examined Bushra Bibi at Bani Gala, prescribed medicine for acidity, digestive issues

Poisoning Claims: Medical Team Gives Bushra Bibi Clean Bill Of Health

A team of doctors has given former first lady Bushra Bibi a clean bill of health after she claimed to have been poisoned earlier this week.

They have prescribed her medicine to treat acidity and digestive issues based on her complaints of mild pain in the stomach and a bad taste in her mouth.

Earlier this week, Bushra Bibi had claimed that attempts had been made to poison her after she was moved to her Bani Gala mansion, which has been declared a sub-jail to ensure her privacy.

Her husband, incarcerated former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan, had claimed that she had been poisoned with arsenic.

Subsequently, a medical team was formed to examine her health.

The team comprised four senior doctors, specialists, and consultants including Dr Ayesha Javed (Department of General Medicine), Dr Ammara Aslam (Department of Ear, Nose and Throat), Dr Ayesha Afzal (Department of Opthalmology), and Dr Maria Baloch (Department of Gastroentrology). All of the doctors work at the government-run Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) in Islamabad.

A report by the team of doctors (which is available with The Friday Times) said that Bushra Bibi had no pre-existing co-morbid illness (such as diabetes, or heart disease etc.) but had complained that after consuming some food about two and a half months ago, she experienced unusual sensations including burning sensation in the stomach, swelling of lips, watering of eyes and dryness of skin. 

The condition continued for a few hours before improving. However, Bushra Bibi told the doctors that she has continued to experience a bad taste in her mouth and occasional mild pain in her stomach, apart from a loss of appetite.

Upon doctor's inquiry, she denied experiencing any pain or difficulty swallowing her food.

Bushra Bibi also complained of the occasional ear blockage, though no symptoms were observerd during the examination.

The doctors said that her pulse was normal, her blood pressure was slightly elevated, and her breathing was normal. A limited examination showed nothing unusual except mild congestion at the back of her throat, and nothing was found in her ears. 

The doctors, who were all women, noted that Bushra Bibi allowed them limited access to examine her abdominal area, insisting on examination over her clothes. 

However, the doctors found that everything was normal.

An eye exam was not performed on Bushra Bibi's request. 

"On history and physical examination, no such signs or symptoms were identified that would raise any concerns," the doctors concluded.

They prescribed two medicines for Bushra Bibi, including one for acidity (Omeprazole 40mg) and one for digestive issues (Itopride 50mg). They also advised Bushra bibi to avoid oily or spicy foods, to take smaller but frequent meals, and to limit the last meal of the day to three to four hours before going to sleep.

It is pertinent to note that the report did not mention any samples drawn from Bushra Bibi or any other chemical examination of meals provided to her. 

Moreover, the examination did not mention whether Bushra Bibi had a history of food-related allergies or whether that was even inquired about.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the symptoms of arsenic poisoning include but are not limited to nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhoea. These are followed by numbness and tingling of the extremities and muscle cramping. In extreme cases and upon sustained, long-term administration, it may cause skin changes such as darkening and lesions and even death.

The writer is an Islamabad based journalist working with The Friday Times. He tweets @SabihUlHussnain