The Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) campus bristled with students’ anger on Monday after they complained that there was no doctor on duty at the students’ health centre and other staff misbehaved with them. The students had taken two of their classmates who met with an accident on the campus to the health centre for treatment. The students said they had complained to university authorities several times in the past over shortcomings in services and lack of doctors at the health centre on the campus.
Around 8.30 am on Monday, two first-year MSc students of the Zoology department met with an accident on the campus and were taken to the health centre by their classmates. The accident took place near the Botany department. The two students were on a bike, slipped during a turn and suffered injuries. Abhishek Bhandari, one of the students who is from Solapur, received injuries to his lip and face, which required stitches.
The students had an internal examination from 8.30 am, according to their classmates. “When we came to know about the accident, we rushed to the spot and took the students to the health centre. At that time, there was no doctor and only an assistant was present. He said he will inform the doctor. The student was bleeding profusely from the mouth, his teeth was broken or chipped which we did not know then and it had cut his lip badly. We asked the assistant to at least clean the wound or start treatment but he spoke to us rudely and asked us to stand outside,” said Sanjay Kakde,
a first-year student.
Akshay Patil, another classmate, claimed the staffer was even rude to one of the woman professors, who came to the health centre and requested him to administer first-aid. “The doctor came in, looked at the patient and said the health centre was not equipped to handle the case. He said a plastic surgeon was needed, so we need to take the patient to a hospital. He did not even suggest the name of any hospital. The university has an ambulance, which was called. But after that we were on our own. We are all hostellers from different cities and don’t know about hospitals here,” he said.
Meanwhile, the injured student was taken to a private clinic on JM Road where he received several stitches. The bill came to Rs 8,000. “I didn’t have the money, thankfully one of my friends made the payment through card. I later informed my family and am on way home. I just want to say that I had the worst experience at the health centre, especially the assistants. They did not even bother to clean my wounds or extend any help,” he said. Senate member Santosh Dhore said this wasn’t an isolated incident. “In the past too, we have told the university administration that it needs to enhance services at the health centre and run it 24×7 for such emergencies. It’s high time some action is taken in this regard,” he said.
Dr Shashikant Dudhgaonkar, in-charge of the health centre, said he was the doctor called in to attend to the injured students. “One of them needed stitches to the lip area and I felt it is better that an experienced plastic surgeon does it. It’s not like we don’t know how to stitch a wound. And we did give an ambulance to the student. We do not suggest any hospitals as we do not have any tie-ups and neither is there a scheme to pay students for such procedures but they could have gone to Sassoon Hospital. We are an OPD centre and not a full-fledged dispensary. And at least till I was there, the students did not complain of any ill-treatment,” he said.
SPPU registrar Dr Arvind Shaligram, when contacted, said he wasn’t aware of the incident. “I will look into it. But it’s true that we need to enhance services at the health centre and the administration is working towards it. Talks are on with three hospitals for sending specialist doctors and a 24-hour emergency service is being set up,” he said.