All doctors are not saints: Some loot patients in the garb of COVID-19 pandemic

Anantnag: Covid-19 Pandemic has given an ample opportunity to some ‘greedy’ doctors to loot poor patients in their private clinics and Nursing Homes. Earlier, there were reports from North Kashmir that some doctors are taking undue advantage of present crisis and are advising patients to visit their private clinics and Nursing Homes for normal surgeries but now reports are surfacing that some doctors have turned this pandemic into business in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district and are looting patients in the name of normal surgeries.

 Principal, Government Medical College Anantnag, Dr Showkat Geelani told news agency KNT that action will be initiated against those doctors who treat patients at private clinics, conduct normal surgeries and charge hefty amounts. “It is unacceptable,” he said.

 Pertinently, authorities have directed doctors working in government hospitals to refrain from conducting normal surgeries due to the situation arising out of COVID-19 pandemic but majority of the doctors are taking advantage of the situation by conducting surgeries in their private clinics and private nursing homes in Anantnag.

 After the enforcement of lockdown, GMC Anantnag stopped conducting normal surgeries in the hospital. This has given an opportunity for these government doctors to loot the patients. “A doctor at GMC is not bound now to conduct normal surgery in the hospital. He simply asks the patient to visit his private clinic or the Nursing Home, conduct normal surgery there and charge hefty amount from the patient. This is sickening and the practice must be stopped,” said a local.

“You don’t do normal surgery in a government hospital just to contain the spread of COVID-19 infection, but what about private clinics, are they immune to such infection,” he said.

Patients say that government directive, asking not to conduct normal surgeries of patients in the hospitals, have proved a gold mine for some voracious doctors and the owners of private clinics.

Hospital data reveals that not a single normal surgery has been conducted at GMC Anantnag since the enforcement of lockdown and all these normal surgeries have been conducted by the doctors deputed at government hospitals at private Nursing Homes.

Ironically, In-charge Chief Medical Officer Dr Zaagu declined to share the data with KNT saying that he has no record of surgeries conducted at Nursing Homes.

The fact is that every Nursing Home is supposed to submit its data about its operations, surgeries and other works before the Chief Medical Officer on monthly basis. “The data reveals everything while authorities in Health Department don’t want to open the Pandora box.”

 “Scores of patients visit on daily basis at private nursing homes. The doctors there, who also work in government hospitals, conduct surgeries. The same doctors refuse to conduct any surgery in the government hospitals.”

 “Government issued the order in public interest so that spread of COVID-19 infection can be contained, but these doctors misused this order and forced patients to visit their private clinics. This practice is still going on under the nose of the government.”

A couple of incidents occurred in recent past depicting the greed of some doctors. In North Kashmir, police detained a doctor for examining patients at his private clinic, caring a fig for social distancing norms. Another doctor was taken to task for mingling a Covid-19 patient with common attendants in his clinic.

The fault lies with the Health Department, which despite knowing the facts, is acting as a mute spectator. (KNT)

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