The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Surgeon to take shirk test

Calcutta, Aug. 27: A doctor in a government hospital has been sent packing before a medical board for not attending to a patient.

Surgeon of Uttarpara General Hospital Ranjit Bhattacharya refused to attend to a patient suffering from lock-jaw on Monday night saying he was ill and could not leave his residence.

“I sent a message to Dr Bhattacharya’s home but he refused to come to the hospital. Instead of attending to the patient, he asked for leave, which I refused,” said Banamali Bala, the superintendent of the hospital.

The matter was referred to authorities in Writers’ Buildings later in the week. Director of health services Prabhakar Chatterjee issued instructions asking Bhattacharya to appear before a board at SSKM Hospital.

This is the first time that a surgeon of the West Bengal State Health Services has been asked to appear for a “medical test” on disciplinary grounds.

On Monday night, Trinamul Congress supporters had kept the superintendent of the hospital confined in a room without light or a ceiling fan for three hours because of the delay in attending to the patient. Police had to rescue Bala.

“He (Bhattacharya) has been asked to take the test as the medical board at Uttarpara hospital headed by Dr Debidas Chattopadhyay advised Bhattacharya on Tuesday to rest as he was found suffering from hypertension. He was otherwise fit,” the director of health services said.

Principal secretary of health Asim Barman had asked Chatterjee to take action against Bhattacharya if he was found guilty.

The doctor under the scanner, however, was not available for comment. His wife Sakuntala confirmed he had received the letter from the health services director.

“My husband has been suffering from hypertension for about three months and the medical board, in which the superintendent of Uttarpara hospital was also a member, advised him rest. His blood pressure was quite high when monitored by the medical board at his hospital,” Sakuntala said.

There are two surgeons in the 204-bed hospital and one of them has been on leave for months.

Bhattacharya had been attending emergency duties round-the-clock for about three months. “The strain had made him ill, how can you take such pressure for days on end,” the wife asked.

Bala admitted that the other surgeon, P.P. Poddar, had extended his leave as he was busy getting his son admitted to engineering courses in other states.

Stale medicine probe

The Uttar Dinajpur administration has ordered an inquiry into a report that medicines, whose expiry dates have lapsed, are being supplied to health centres in the district.

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