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Sick medical cradle faces identity crisis

The lone and ailing state-owned medical college in Dhanbad may be taken off life support, if it fails to respond to prescribed amends.

The Medical Council of India (MCI) has renewed its de-recognition threat to Patliputra Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) for ignoring lacunae in infrastructure and functioning that were highlighted during an inspection nearly three years ago.

The letter, which reached PMCH principal Arun Kumar Chaudhary on Wednesday, calls for a fresh report detailing steps taken to overcome shortcomings. Copies of the communiqué have also been forwarded to principal secretary of health and family welfare K. Vidyasagar and Vinoba Bhave University to which the medical college is affiliated.

In August 2010, an MCI team had taken serious note of a host of problems plaguing the heal hub — from mentor crunch in several departments, scarcity of medical journals in the library and no e-data to a non-existent central emergency, an unequipped labour room and a defunct CT scan apparatus.

It had also raised serious objections to the cradle being run from two different campuses. While most departments of PMCH function from Seraidhela, the orthopaedics and surgery wings are in Hirapur, which greatly inconveniences both patients and doctors.

Principal Chaudhary admitted that they had received a warning. “I will write to the health secretary and also discuss inadequacies with (PMCH) superintendent Arun Kumar Lao. Merging campuses and procuring equipment are on the radar,” he said.

Notably, construction of two extra floors on the Seraidhela campus was completed a month ago to relocate the two estranged departments. However, just like Nero fiddled when Rome burnt, PMCH authorities and building division bosses are bickering over power connection even as the cradle faced a threat of losing MCI recognition.

According to the building division, provision for electricity connection was not mentioned in the budget allocated to it. Executive engineer Manoj Kumar Mahli specified that the power link from the pole to panel room and again from the latter to the switch room was not mentioned in the budget.

“But, we have decided to make arrangements for the same following instructions from deputy commissioner Prashant Kumar. We will meet the health secretary after Ramnavami to seek diversion of funds for the power connection,” Mahli said.

On dearth of professors in various departments, principal Chaudhary said appointment and promotion could only be done at the state level. “For us, lack of funds is a major handicap, especially when it comes to replenishing our library stock,” he said.

Established in 1971 in Patna, the medical college was later shifted to Dhanbad by the erstwhile Bihar government and integrated with three hospitals. The Seraidhela college campus came up in 1977.

In 1982, it faced MCI de-recognition owing to lack of facilities. It regained the honour after a gap of 17 years in 1999. The hospital became fully functional from 2001. The cradle, currently, has 250 students on its rolls.