What is the key factor in quick recovery of a patient? Most doctors would vote for nutrition and hydration based on medical condition. Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences tender-ly begs to differ.
While chief minister Hemant Soren and health minister Rajendra Prasad Singh are hoping to clone AIIMS for Jharkhand, the touted premier hospital run by the state in capital Ranchi has floated a diet services bid that not just violates every nutritional standard, but also compromises on patient rights.
So glaring are the dietary digressions that the food chart annexed with the tender form, which was released last week, has triggered strong resentment even among doctors who draw salary from the state government.
“A hospital’s nutritional support must always be based on a patient’s medical status. One who is diabetic and one who is suffering from cardiac ailments cannot be given the same diet. Besides, every person needs protein, minerals, vitamins and energy supplements based on their body’s absorption capabilities and nutrient losses during diseases,” observed a very senior doctor, requesting anonymity.
The chart attached with the tender vaguely categorises diets as “salt-free, restricted, diabetic, soft, liquid and for all different diseases as per requisition”.
Expressing concern over this obscurity, the senior medical professional added: “I do not say that every disease needs to be mentioned in the chart, but categorisation should be more elaborate so that the agency that lands the hospital kitchen job has an idea of what patients might need.”
A paediatrician at RIMS also pointed out anomalies in quality and quantity prescribed in the food chart.
“Read Schedule III (of the tender form). The liquid diet mentioned vegetable soup, milk, sattu and energy drinks. What about protein in the form of chicken soup? The list of instructions is so very vague. At one point, it seeks a litre of milk or juice for a patient. Again, it says that since the diet does not provide enough nutrition it should not be continued for more than necessary time. What does that mean?” he said.
For children, another specialist said, recommendations were flawed for general or half diet. “The chart suggests 300gm cereals, including bread, for a child. Now, that would be barely enough for, say, a 14-year-old. I am not very pleased with the nutrition chart whosoever has recommended it,” he said.
At RIMS, the meals currently offered to patients cost Rs 50 a day. Even at this paltry rate, the ailing get the required amount of nutrition because the diet chart is disease-based and the kitchen has necessary instructions, the doctors said.
Insiders claim the hospital management has proposed to increase the rate to Rs 90, but at the same time is bringing down the standard of nutrition.
Asked whether she was aware of the resentment among doctors over the food chart annexed to the tender, the dietician at RIMS nodded to say yes. On why she had drafted a displease-all diet chart, the nutritionist said: “Well, if you can believe, I did not prepare that chart. In fact, I had not even seen it till it was floated along with the tender.”
Officiating director of the hospital Dr S.K. Choudhary was the only one to support the new nutrition roster.
“The diet chart has no problem at all. If any doctor has any issue with the chart, he or she would have told me. I have received no complaints, which means everything is fine.”
Doctors, decide who will bell the cat.
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