Rot in Gorakhpur Hospital Runs Deep, 1 Doctor Has 4 Jobs
The Uttar Pradesh government on Sunday suspended Dr Kafeel Khan, the nodal doctor of the encephalitis ward, for running a private practice. A crime for which many other senior doctors here should also be axed.
Gorakhpur: A drive around BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur could be the much-needed eye-opener if one has to get a clear picture on what ails India’s healthcare system. Dogs and pigs inside wards. Patients being wheeled in on carts. Three or four children on one bed. Very few ventilators and a serious lack of oxygen supply. To top it all, doctors are too busy in their private chambers to bother about patients at the government hospital.
The Uttar Pradesh government on Sunday suspended Dr Kafeel Khan, the nodal doctor of the encephalitis ward, who was hailed as a hero in the aftermath of the tragedy, for running a private practice; a crime for which many other senior doctors here should also have been axed.
Residential quarters for doctors inside the medical college campus have now become mini clinics.
Every second house in the doctor's colony at BRD Medical College boasts of big blue boards with the names, degrees and chamber addresses of these doctors. (Shreya Dhoundial/CNN-News 18)
A case in point, Dr RK Misra, the sacked principal of BRD college, is not just thriving on a private practice inside the campus but also is part of the Sri Ram Pathology Centre right outside the medical college. His job involved referring his poor patients from the medical college to this pathological laboratory. It made good business sense.
Dr Misra's neighbour is the Mohan family. Five nameplates outside their house spell out the names of the three doctors who practice here. They are: Dr Renu Mohan, a gynaecologist, who just retired from the medical college, her husband Dr Lalit Mohan, a skin specialist who continues to serve at BRD and their son, Dr S Mohan, who is also a private practitioner.
Signboards outside the Mohan household. (Shreya Dhoundial/CNN-News 18)
The mini clinic at their official residence is equipped with a bed and a medicine rack. On Monday, while the hospital tragedy was still looming large, the family of doctors did not entertain a single patient.
“We are not cheats or goons. We do this private practice out of good will. People we know, even mediapersons come to us at odd hours. Where will we treat them if not here,” said Dr Renu.
Hundred metres from the Mohan residence is Dr Mukesh Shukla's residence and clinic. He is a nuerosurgeon at the same medical college. A close inspection of the blue board outside his residence also advertises a Ram Gyan Nuero and Spine Center. A passerby informs us he also works at the Buddha Hospital in Gorakhpur. That is four day jobs for one doctor.
These are just three examples. Every second house in the doctor's colony at BRD Medical College boasts of big blue boards that prominently mention the degrees and achievements of the doctors in Hindi — a sales pitch no passerby can ignore.
Outside the emergency ward, two young technicians of the radiology ward crib about doctors not showing up for work.
"If seven doctors are supposed to be on duty, two would show up. Everyone is busy with their private practices. When chief minister Yogi Adityanath came visiting on Sunday, they finally showed up," said a hospital staff.
The two young staff members, who didn’t wish to be named, talked about the lack of empathy that haunts the corridors of BRD.
"Poor patients are deliberately given appointments a month later even for something as simple as an ultrasound. This is done to ensure that they can be pushed to private MRI centres where these doctors practise," one of them revealed.
So why do these things not come out in the open?
“When the Medical Council of India officers come for inspection, all of these doctors would show up and keep the inspectors so occupied with food and refreshments that they wouldn’t bother going around the hospital to look for the attendance register or talk to patients,” the staff member added.
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