The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Horror rerun at hospitals

Doctors not available on time, no supervision from the authorities, apathy of nursing staff, social welfare officers missing in action… The complaint list runs on and on, and the horror story reads much the same at all government-run hospitals in the city.

In the wake of the tragic death of budding cricketer Rajnis Patel, both the city and Bengal branches of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) said on Tuesday that repeated reminders to health department officials on improving standards of treatment at government hospitals have fallen on deaf ears.

“It is interesting to hear the government’s statements that it will take some action. It has woken up to the issue now, after the death of a teenager. We have been warning the government that such a thing was waiting to happen, unless it brought in some accountability among healthcare staff at government hospitals,” said R.D. Dubey, IMA joint secretary (headquarters).

The association members met during the day and decided to take the matter to state health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra, demanding workshops to improve patient-doctor relationships, especially at SSKM Hospital.

“There could be a distinct possibility that Rajnis got infected in the OT itself. The situation is definitely bad and we have been emphasising that quality at government hospitals must become a priority,” said former IMA president Subir Ganguly.

Rajnis’ death is no one-off case, say IMA members, citing the following instances:

—A few months ago, a teacher in the forensic department of Medical College and Hospital accused officials of the medicine department of wrong treatment. An inquiry is underway.

—Labour minister Shanti Ghatak lodged a complaint with the SSKM Hospital authorities a few months ago, that he was not being properly treated at the Woodburn ward. Three senior doctors were issued showcause notices for being negligent.

—Similar allegations of negligence had followed the death of Apurbalal Majumdar, minister in the Congress ministry in the 1970s. He died at SSKM in 1999.

—A series of crib deaths at B.C. Roy Hospital for Children in 2002 raised a furore. The government was forced to revamp the hospital administration.

Just a few months ago, IMA had brought to the notice of the government the pathetic state of the hospitals, from unclean operating theatres to filthy wards and callous healthcare personnel.

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