Authorities at Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) hospital have issued a notice to doctors on duty at the emergency ward over the “casual way” in which they handle “VIP reference” cases. Such cases refer to patients from a poor socio-economic background who are recommended to the hospital by VIPs.
The order issued by hospital medical superintendent Dr A K Gadpayle on May 15 stated, “It has been observed that VIP references have not been attended to properly and are being handled in a very casual way by doctors on duty at the trauma emergency centre and other emergency areas. This kind of attitude is being viewed very seriously…”.
When contacted, Dr Gadpayle said “VIP reference does not amount to VIP patients”. “Sometimes, we get recommendations from VIPs of patients from a very backward socio-economic background… It was observed that doctors did not speak to these patients properly. The order states that doctors should be cordial while dealing with patients…”
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Dr Gadpayle said patients who come to the hospital are already troubled and burdened with expenses, and doctors should make an effort to be communicative.
“We understand that doctors have a heavy work load, but these patients travel a long way to get to the hospital. The first duty of a doctor is to speak to them cordially…,” he said.
The order, marked top priority, has been sent to all heads of departments and emergency and trauma wings. It stated that “if such kinds of incidents are reported to the undersigned, necessary action will be taken against the doctors”.
A senior official in the emergency department said the order was issued after complaints were received from senior officials of the Union Health Ministry.
“We received complaints that some doctors were not talking properly to patients who were referred to the hospital by senior officials from the ministry. So the order had to be issued.”
However, doctors in the emergency ward said patients may be more satisfied if resources are increased. “If you are dealing with 100 patients in one shift, and three patients are admitted on one bed, how do you expect pleasantries to lessen the patient’s ordeal? The new trauma block is still not functional and the emergency ward has too many patients,” a doctor from the surgery department, who is on duty at the emergency ward once a week, said.
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