In battle among doctors, patient care at Jammu hospital takes a hit

Amid a raging coronavirus pandemic, the Government Medical College (GMC) of Jammu, the major referral hospital in the Jammu region, has become a battlefield for senior doctors with patient care taking a severe hit. Peeved over indiscipline and chaos, the principal, Dr Nasib Chand Digra, a prominent surgeon, opted for a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) on Sunday evening. Dr Digra, in a two-page letter to the lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha, offered to opt for VRS because of the interference in working of the hospital by “extra-institutional officials”. He, however, didn’t name them in the letter. When contacted by HT, he refused to share their names. In his letter to the L-G, Dr Digra said there were “few extra-institutional officers, one or two heads of departments and few faculty members who are bypassing the departmental hierarchy and approaching administrative departments in technical, professional and administrative matters”. “Such interferences in the internal working of the GMC Principal Office shall create huge space for anarchy, indiscipline and further demeaning of the office. This shall further create a space for the GMC employees to create nuisance and go scot-free from the administrative department by using all sorts of ways and means to influence the higher ups,” reads a part of his letter. It further read, “The work culture and interpersonal relations are already in deterioration mode that needs to be taken care of.” The principal also cited in the letter how the “extra-institutional officials” have severely hit his unblemished image in the society and demeaned the chair. “In view of this, if my services are not being liked by anybody, I offer to get voluntary retirement from the service,” Dr Digra’s letter concluded. Reports of shortage of oxygen cylinders at the hospital have sparked panic among the patients and their family members. Due to a spike in Covid patients in Jammu, the demand for oxygen has increased manifold and oxygen plant of the GMC is not sufficient enough to meet the requirement, said a doctor. To cater to the demand, the GMC authorities were compelled to purchase nearly 500 cylinders from outside. In a striking contrast to government claims of augmenting health infrastructure to effectively tackle Covid-19 pandemic in Jammu and Kashmir, the GMC in the winter capital has started bursting at the seams, said doctors. It may be stated here that since Friday, two patients, a four-year- old boy from Janipur and a 24-year-old woman from Karan Bagh, died due to alleged negligence of the doctors at the hospital. The minor had a head injury while the woman allegedly died in 10 minutes after she was administered an injection on Saturday in ward number 7. In the case of the woman, Jammu district commissioner Sushma Chauhan has ordered a magisterial probe to be conducted by a three-member panel within seven days. The GMC Jammu is a major referral hospital of Jammu region where patients from all the 10 districts are referred and treated. Till Sunday, the UT had total cases of 54,096 Covid patients, out of which 35,737 have been cured. However 878 have died so far.