Senior medical practitioners at the government-run Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital hardly spend the stipulated hours at their workplace despite the warning issued by Minister for Medical Education Sharan Prakash R. Patil.

The snap strike by the house surgeons on Wednesday brought to the fore the unauthorised absenteeism of senior doctors who are expected to guide house surgeons there. The hospital is a teaching hospital and is under the administrative control of the Department of Medical Education.

Despite the Minister’s warning and repeated instructions by the Medical Superintendent of the hospital that at least one senior doctor in each faculty should be present in hospital even after the working hours of the out-patient department, senior doctors appear to observe the instructions more in breach resulting in untold misery to patients.

Dr. Sharan Prakash Patil, during a visit to the hospital on October 21, took note of the absence of many doctors. Following this, Medical Superintendent S.I.S. Khadri issued a circular on October 30 stating that the unit heads concerned would be held responsible for any shortcomings in their units. He had directed that one senior faculty member be present in the casualty section from 4 p.m. to 9 a.m.

Following a representation by Students Association of Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI) regarding the non-availability of senior doctors, Dr. Khadri again warned the doctors through another circular on November 5.

Responding to the problem, Dr. Sharan Prakash Patil told The Hindu that he would conduct a detailed probe. “I will regularly conduct surprise inspections in the night to see if doctors are present to attend to patients. Disciplinary action will be initiated against those who are found to be negligent,” he added.

Several patients told The Hindu that any patient who visits the hospital after OPD hours is at the mercy of house surgeons. “These trainee doctors do not even bother to touch and see us. They jot down prescriptions even without examining patients,” said a patient.

In the absence of senior doctors, house surgeons and post-graduate doctors are forced to even announce death of patients.

Wednesday’s protest by house surgeons at the hospital is an off-shoot of one such instance wherein house surgeon Satish S. Pujari had to attend to an 85-year-old Mohammed Basha Saheb in the absence of a senior doctor. He even had to announce the death of the patient following which he was assaulted by the patient’s son on the charge that the house surgeon was responsible for his father’s death.

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