On October 9,15-year-old Tahirkhan Pathan,a resident of Juhapura,went to the Civil Hospital at Sola for treatment in its paediatric ward. On his data form in the column meant for stating religion,it was written Hindu and the caste column listed him as general. Bizarre as it sounds this is the experience of some Muslim patients coming for treatment to this hospital run by the Gujarat Medical Education and Research Society.
In another instance,a 35-year-old woman,whose name is mentioned as Zaheda Banu Nasirkhan Pathan,had gone to this hospital on June 29 for psychiatric treatment (OP No 13029/00236). In her case paper,her religion was mentioned as Hindu.
Many patients do not go through these forms closely and things like these go unnoticed,said a visitor to the hospital while suspecting intentions of the authorities in modifying religion-related detail.
I wonder if they are trying to give a twist to facts and data by tampering with patients personal details, said Pathans uncle Dilawar Khan,who was the first to notice the error.
Medical Superintendent of the hospital Dr H K Bhavsar initially said this could be a software problem. But when he was told that these details were required to be filled manually and separately in all cases,he admitted that a human error was possible. He called the staff members concerned to seek an explanation for the lapse.
Every care will be taken henceforth to ensure accuracy in entering such details in the forms and it would be seen that theres no scope for any complaint in future in filling in the data. We had no intention to make such changes in personal details that change the identity of a patient, he added.
Justifying the inclusion of the column for religion of a patient in OPD,Bhavsar said the decision on the format was taken at the state government level. This can help during collection of medical history data along community lines so that community-specific research can become possible, he said.
Authorities at the AMC-run Vadilal Sarabhai Hospital said that neither was there a need for such profiling of patients nor was it being done at their hospital. The practice of mentioning religion and caste existed 25 years ago in the V S Hospital when a single-sheet OPD form used to be issued,but now that has been stopped as it was not serving any purpose, said a source. The Sola Civil Hospital currently issues single-sheet OPD forms.