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Suspension of doctors leads to rift between govt and doctors’ associations

- June 21, 2022

Thiruvananthapuram, June 21 (BPNS)

The suspension of two doctors – for the alleged lapse in performing organ transplantation surgery in a time-bound manner at Government Medical College Hospital (GMCH), Thiruvananthapuram – has resulted in a turf battle between the government and medical community in the state.

While doctors’ associations were of the stance that the suspension was a hasty decision, health minister Veena George said that the concerned can’t evade responsibilities.

It was on Monday night that two doctors – heads of neurology and neurology departments – were put under suspension pending investigation. The action followed after additional chief secretary’s (health) preliminary findings.

It was alleged that due to negligence of the concerned kidney transplant surgery was not performed in a time-bound manner and a 62-year-old patient – Suresh Kumar, a resident of Karakonam – succumbed on Monday morning.

As the incident came to light, health minister Veena George ordered a high-level probe.

Acting upon complaints of health activists, the state human rights commission also ordered a probe.

At the same time, the Indian Medical Association state chapter (IMA) and the Kerala Government Medical College Teachers’ Association (KGMCTA) have come out with pressurizing tactics including a threat to launch to protest for reconsidering the suspension. They also alleged that for a ‘system’s failure’ the doctors were made ‘scapegoats’.

Talking to the media, Veena said, “How could the suspension be called disciplinary action? It’s just a formality and it was made to ensure a fair inquiry. If there is any fault then necessary actions will be initiated.”

The minister also questioned the associations’ stance by asking, “If not doctors’ fault, then whose? Students? There is a well-defined protocol and directions for the functioning of the hospital and performing surgeries. The concerned are expected to follow it. If not, they will have to face action. There is no point in saying that some practices are being followed for a long time and this can’t be changed.”

Meanwhile, Medical College Police said that the postmortem of Suresh Kumar has been completed and the findings along with his medical records will now be considered by a medical board for examining a complaint of medical negligence.

The hospital authorities also filed a complaint with the police alleging that some outsiders snatched the box containing harvested kidney, causing unwanted confusion. The complaint, filed by medical college superintendent and college principal also alleged that some carried out false campaign against the hospital.

However a police officer said, “That complaint seems to be bogus. How could one enter the hospital complex without proper identification? There is enough security at the entrance. If we receive a complaint on the same we will certainly look into it.”

According to the health minister, the hospital had raised such a complaint and it will be examined by the additional chief secretary.

However, the visuals of those carrying the box containing the harvested kidney, showed that the hospital security is there with the group and it was him who is helping them.

It was on Sunday that an ambulance carrying a kidney from Rajagiri Hospital reached the MCH with a police escort at around 5.30 pm. But, as per the allegations, no hospital staff were present there to receive the organ and a group of ambulance drivers had to carry the case to the operation theater.  It’s said that though the organ for transplant arrived on time, surgery was performed lately.

The hospital authorities refute this by claiming that the patient had to undergo hemodialysis and it’s only after that renal transplantation could be performed. The patient is said to have developed some complications and dialysis had to be performed again. According to them, this delayed the transplant surgery.