The Telegraph
Friday , May 16 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Hospital wounds laid bare
- First MCI surprise check catches RIMS unawares

4 doctors share room to examine patients
Blood bank doesn’t have licence
Exam hall is a storeroom
Gloves dry on OT table

Ranchi, May 15: A surprise Medical Council of India (MCI) inspection at RIMS unveiled a series of horrors today, exposing the sham healthcare has been reduced to at the state-run hospital meant to be the only hope for thousands of poor patients who come for treatment from across Jharkhand.

If laid-back RIMS authorities were caught unawares by the visit of a three-member MCI team, so were the inspecting doctors who weren’t quite ready for the shock that was in store for them.

Utter chaos, disorder and apathy greeted Dr Anup Raj of Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi; Dr K.C. Choudhary of JNIMS, Imphal; and Dr S. Mahapatra of BSS Medical College, Bankura, as they toured various departments of Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences separately for three hours. The surprise inspection, the first in RIMS’s history since it started functioning in 1965, was conducted to monitor facilities at the hospital where MCI had okayed the increase of medical seats from 90 to 150 in 2011.

The inspectors arrived around 10am when some doctors, including director Tulsi Mahto, were busy attending the inaugural ceremony of a bank on the premises.

After a brief introduction, the inspectors informed Mahto that the inspection would be video-recorded and asked him to arrange three videographers.

They then divided themselves into three teams and went around the premises. Raj, assisted by Mahto, chose to start with the registration counter.

He was baffled to see the way the counter was being managed. Asked how many new registrations were done on Wednesday and Monday, the staff could not give come up with the figures.

Similarly, when Mahto was asked where a patient had to report first, the director hurriedly showed them the chief medical officer’s room. But an employee immediately corrected him, saying it was the room of the surgeon on duty.

When Raj wanted to see the room, he was surprised to find it had no bathroom.

More embarrassment waited for the authorities when Raj visited the blood bank and found out that it did not have a licence.

“The institute has applied for the licence,” Sushma Kumari, the blood bank in-charge said.

But when Raj sought documents, Sushma could only produce a paper that turned out to be a letter to the regional licensing authority, requesting it to allow the blood bank to function till 2016.

Similar mismanagement was in evidence elsewhere.

According to MCI guidelines, each doctor at a medical institute must have a separate chamber to examine patients. At RIMS, four doctors were seeing patients in the same room.

Shocked, Raj turned to Mahto and asked: “How can you demand an increase in PG seats when your institute is not fulfilling many criteria laid out for UG seats?”

The experience of other two inspectors, Choudhary and Mahapatra, was none too redeeming.

Choudhary was displeased to see psychiatry patients being treated in the medicine ward. He also found out that nurses were frequently shifted without reason. The skin ward had no door to the bathroom while facilities at the paediatric ward were not up to the mark.

When Mahapatra asked to see the examination hall, he had to wait for the keys. Finally, when the keys arrived, he asked the staff not to open it. It was clear that the hall was being used as a store.

The three doctors left the premises without speaking to the media.

When asked about the surprise visit, Mahto, who appeared grim for obvious reasons, shot back, “Everything happened before you all. Do I need to say anything separately?”

As per MCI norms, inspections are to be conducted for the initial five years to see whether medical colleges were meeting the required standards after a seat increase.

But this is the first surprise inspection at RIMS in the sense that all these years, the MCI had been notifying the dates of the visits to the hospital in advance. For RIMS, any adverse report by the inspectors will not only make it lose the extra seats, but will also come as a huge blow ahead of its golden jubilee next year.