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13 Out of 15 Doctors Quit Bhopal Memorial Hospital, Cite Poor Infra, Job Growth

Patients in lurch as shutdown faces the super-specialty hospital run by the Union government’s ICMR for providing free healthcare to victims of Bhopal gas tragedy.
13 Out of 15 Doctors Quit Bhopal Memorial

Image for representational use only.Image Courtesy : CarvanDaily

Bhopal: In a setback to thousands of victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, the world’s worst industrial disaster, 13 doctors out 15 in the super- specialty Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre (BMHRC) resigned on Monday, citing lack of basic infrastructure and job growth.

The BHMRC was established two decades ago on directions from the Supreme Court to provide super specialist and free medical services to more than five lakh victims of the massive gas leak from the then Union Carbide factory in the city. The hospital has a capacity of 350 beds and the more than 2,000 OPD (out-patient department) patients visit every day. It has a budget of over Rs 120 crore.

The doctors of nine different departments have resigned so far, including neurosurgery, neurology and pathology. The hospital administration has reportedly not yet accepted the resignations.

According to reports, the doctors alleged they were neither getting promotion nor basic infrastructure to treat patients at the hospital run by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a Union government body. In addition to that, the hospital has a huge shortage of doctors.

Out of four experts in the anaesthesia department, two have resigned, said sources. The other two in the department are rarely on clinical duty. Interventions of the heart and neurology are expected to suffer, too.

Similarly, the doctor in-charge of neurology, and the sole consultant from neurosurgery have put in their papers while the cardiology CTVS consultant has also resigned. The departments would be manned by two residents now, a senior consultant in the hospital was quoted by Times of India, citing anonymity.

The urology, ophthalmology, oncology, pathology, neurology and pulmonology departments are also headed for a shutdown. Consultants and doctors manning the departments have resigned, too. More resignations are likely to follow, said BMHRC consultants.

The news of doctors’ resignation came to light after BMHRC floated an advertisement for recruitment of some 30 doctors.

BMHRC director, Dr Prabha Desikan, who is also in charge of five departments said: “Demand of doctors for promotion is being looked into. Besides, the process to recruit 30 new doctors have already begun.”

The doctors’ resignation has put a strain on thousands of gas-hit victims as well as activists.

Commenting on the issue, gas-hit victim activist Rasheeda Bi said: “We have been warning the government about the pathetic condition of the hospital for years. And have several times raised the issue of lack of doctors, but the authorities concerned paid no heed. Now, the super specialist hospital is on the verge of shutdown.”

The administration should fix the issue else the gas-hit victims will suffer, she added.

Unofficial estimates put the death toll at over 20,000 and lakhs affected by the toxic gas leak from the pesticide factory in Madhya Pradesh’s capital on the night of December 2 and 3, 1984.

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