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Kalam doc booted out for fainting

Mumbai, Dec. 3: Prize for travelling with the President ' sack.

Sameer Kalaniya and Ravi Ghugre, two young doctors with Mumbai’s JJ Hospital, thought it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. After all, not everyone gets the chance to accompany the country’s first citizen.

Less than three months after A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s whirlwind visit to the city, both have lost their jobs.

What began as an eventful day for the two, who were asked to travel with A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s entourage at the last minute on the morning of September 12, ended with Kalaniya being wheeled into the JJ Hospital intensive care unit after he fainted from weakness.

“We were told to report for VVIP duty at 3 pm initially, but then the schedule was abruptly preponed to 11 am. I rushed to the ambulance straight from the operation theatre, and then travelled with the President till he left. We were not allowed to carry any food or water, nor did the security allow us to stop and eat,” Kalaniya recalled.

Ghugre resuscitated Kalaniya after he fainted and rushed him to the JJ Hospital ICU where he was unconscious for about three hours.

Embarrassed, the state health authorities ordered a probe.

JJ Hospital appointed a three-member committee. Based on the committee’s report, the two doctors were found guilty and served with termination notices. Kalaniya received his notice on December 1. It said he was being sacked because of the September 12 incident. No specific reasons were given. Ghugre lost his job today.

The termination has shocked young doctors at the hospital, one of the biggest public hospitals in the city.

“Our termination is totally illegal. We are being made scapegoats. But we will fight for justice,” said Kalaniya, who was with the anaesthesia and critical care department.

“The committee merely interviewed us once, but we have not been given any grounds for termination. A JJ Hospital report tried to project that I had malaria, and I fainted due to the illness. But I have been working at the hospital from September 13.”

The two plan to petition Kalam and Maharashtra governor S.M. Krishna.

JJ Hospital dean Dr Pravin Shingare said he was merely obeying orders from the state health department. State health authorities were unavailable for comment.

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