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Body blow to bone doctors

One was a cricketer who dreamt of making it big, the other is on his way to becoming the next big thing in Bollywood. Both suffered broken bones in the leg, while at their respective places of work. One of them died in Bengal’s biggest government-run hospital last month, and the other took Thursday’s first flight out of the city to hometown Mumbai.

Manoj Patel, who lost his son, budding fast bowler Rajnis, at SSKM Hospital following a chain of events set off by nothing more than a fractured femur, expressed “relief” at actor Vivek Oberoi’s decision to bypass the city’s medical system.

The actor, who suffered a fractured tibia and fibula on his left leg after an accident during the shooting of a Mani Ratnam film on Wednesday, was to have been operated upon at Calcutta Medical Research Institute (CMRI) on Thursday. But by Thursday morning, Vivek was at Mumbai’s Hinduja Hospital, where he underwent surgery in the evening.

“He (Vivek) has taken the correct decision,” said the 45-year-old man, whose 17-year-old son died last month.

“If the state’s biggest hospital cannot mend a broken leg in three months, how can you expect people from Mumbai to have confidence in Calcutta’s medical facilities'” he asked, expressing the hope that no one else suffered his “son’s fate”.

The state’s medical fraternity, meanwhile, has taken Vivek’s ‘flight’ from CMRI — with “no more than a fractured tibia and a fractured fibula” — as a “thumbs-down” to the state’s healthcare sector.

Most doctors and orthopaedic surgeons contacted by Metro were unanimous in their opinion that the state’s health facilities had not slipped to the level that a fractured tibia and fibula could not have been set right.

But they were equally categorical about the fact that Vivek’s family — anxious to give their son the best medical treatment available — could not be faulted, as Calcutta does not inspire medical confidence in those who can afford treatment elsewhere.

“It’s a fact that Calcutta, once known as the medical capital of the country, has stopped attracting patients from elsewhere (except those from places like Bangladesh),” said Sudipto Roy, secretary of the Journal of the Indian Medical Association. “When leaders from the ruling party go to Mumbai and Chennai for treatment, how can you expect outsiders to have confidence in the facilities here'”

Doctors here definitely have the ability to mend broken bones in the leg, but the overall image has certainly taken a beating, added Roy.

Gautam Mukhopadhyay, an oncologist who often conducts surgeries in Mumbai and Delhi hospitals, said: “Trauma cases should be treated as soon as possible… So, it’s unfortunate that his (Vivek’s) family did not have the confidence to have him operated here.” The state’s image had definitely taken a beating, he added.

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