2 doctors, nurse suspended over rat biting ICU patient in Kamareddy Hospital; IMA protests

Investigating officers have found that the doctors are directly or indirectly responsible for the rat bite in the ICU.

By Sulogna Mehta  Published on  13 Feb 2024 2:57 AM GMT
2 doctors, nurse suspended over rat biting ICU patient in Kamareddy Hospital; IMA protests

Hyderabad: Doctors from Indian Medical Association (IMA) Telangana, have strongly condemned the government’s suspension of two doctors and a staff nurse from Kamareddy Government General Hospital (GGH), following an incident of rat bite on a patient admitted at the ICU.

On Monday, doctors from various government hospitals and medical colleges in the state wore black badges as a mark of protest and some sections of IMA doctors have also threatened to go on a hunger strike or take up other means of protests until the suspension orders are revoked.

However, late evening, members of Telangana Teaching Doctors Association (TTGDA) had a discussion with the health minister Damodar Rajanarasimha regarding the suspension of doctors apart from other issues such as salaries, filling up posts, transfers etc. As per TTGDA, the discussion with the health minister was fruitful and assurance was given about revoking the suspension orders of the two Kamareddy GGH doctors and one nurse.

Earlier in the day, in a statement issued to the media, IMA state president Dr P Kali Prasad Rao and honorary state secretary Dr J Vijay Rao wrote, “It is shocking that one government medical officer of Kamareddy Government Hospital was suspended for the unfortunate incident of a rat bite to a patient in ICU. It is the duty of all medical officers to treat the patient till their discharge but has no role in searching for rats in the wards to prevent bites. The ICU is for treatment to save the patient but not to keep vigil on rats. Highly irresponsible and unprofessional action has been taken against the doctors for rat bite.”

Dr Kali Prasad Rao asked the Director of Medical Education (DME) how the district collector and his team of investigating officers have found that the doctors are directly or indirectly responsible for the rat bite in the ICU.

Dr Vijay Rao wrote, “It is the responsibility of the sanitation staff to keep the wards neat and clean. The suspension imposed on the doctors by the DME for this rat bite incident should be lifted immediately and if not, all the IMA Telangana state branches members will support the strike call given by Telangana teaching doctors in the state.”

Strongly condemning the suspension of the two doctors and staff nurse, Dr Prabhukumar Challa, president of IMA, Banjara Hills branch, rued that for every medical issue, by every government, doctors are made a scapegoat. “The patient was bitten by rodents because of unsanitary conditions in the wards. The government appoints or outsources the sanitation staff. Also, often the relatives of the patients litter and throw food items in and around the wards and in the hospital premises, which attract the rodents. The rats won’t be running around in the daytime in public view but their movement is mostly at night, when people are not around. There is no logic in dragging the doctors and nurses in a case of rat-bite and shifting the blame and responsibility on them. Ironically, it is the duty doctor who notified about the rodent bites on the patient’s fingers and treated him. The patient is all right but the doctors were suspended despite doing their duties. Till now, post graduate doctors have not got their stipends, which are pending since October but when it comes to blaming and punishing, doctors are an easy target everywhere. Such action by the government just kills the morale of doctors,” he said.

Dr Jalagam Thirupathi Rao, state general secretary of Telangana Teaching Doctors Association (TTGDA) added, “The sanitation agency has to take care of the sanitation issue. This sanitation agency is supervised by the administration. How are doctors concerned with this issue?”

One of the suspended doctors, associate professor from General Medicine Department S Vasanth Kumar has informed that he was not even present in the hospital during the incident because he was assigned duty as external examiner for the conduct of Final MBBS Part II practical exam at Gandhi Medical College between February 9 and 11, 2024.

IMA doctors also voiced their demands for structural reforms for better patient care, restriction of patient’s attendants at hospitals, who are allowed anytime and in any number, causing more problems. “Apart from structural reforms and restricted entry of attendants, there should be effective sanitation and security measures, filling up of all vacancies, financial backup for hospitals, a strong redressal mechanism, clear job charts for doctors and staff and good infrastructure and adequate manpower,” said Dr M Kiran, anaesthesiologist at Nizamabad Government Hospital.

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