“I was posted in this hospital to offer my services as an ophthalmologist, which I wanted to do wholeheartedly. But after joining, I was asked to attend outpatient duties of other specialities such as Orthopaedics, Gynaecology and Paediatrics instead of Ophthalmology. I am under pressure by the authorities to do work in which I am neither trained nor authorised to perform,” writes Dr. P. Prathibha Roy, a Senior Resident who was posted in Tenali district hospital as part of mandatory rural service.

Dr. Pratibha Roy emailed this complaint to Assistant Professor, MNJ Government Cancer Hospital, Dr. P. Srinivasan, who represents the junior doctors in a committee set up the government on mandatory rural service. A copy of this e-mail is in possession with The Hindu.

80 such instances

There are close to 80 such specific instances where PG students had to treat patients with ailments, which the medicos were not trained to handle. The junior doctors reiterated the need for having proper guidelines while posting medicos in districts under rural service.

In her e-mail Dr. Pratibha Roy said she feels guilty while treating patients admitted with ailments that do not come under her speciality. “I personally feel this is unethical and endangers the lives of these poor people. This is doing more harm than good to patients,” she adds.

It’s been close to two months since the mandatory rural service for junior doctors was enforced by health authorities. And, this is what is happening to a majority of them, who were posted to various hospitals in the districts.

In her e-mail, Dr. Roy shared a terrifying experience. “As there is no Obstetrician, I am also attending deliveries in the hospital. On September 24, at around 2.30 a.m., a complicated case of pregnancy was admitted. The umbilical cord was wrapped around the neck of the foetus and the mother’s blood pressure was dropping. There was no time to send her to a better centre,” Dr. Roy said.

The hapless resident said she managed to save the mother and the child. “But, I am unable to withstand the pressure of such situations. I am in agony because I have put the lives of the mother and the child at risk,” she adds in her e-mail.

“I don’t want to put patients at risk by doing what I am not trained at. Kindly take necessary steps and issue proper guidelines regarding our work as early as possible,” Dr. Roy added.