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AAP’s hospital vigil proves farcical

AAP volunteers ordered the doctors to give a patient anti-TB drugs because they thought he had TB.

Aditya Sakorkar & Asad Rehman  New Delhi | 18th Jan 2014

The Rajan Babu Hospital in Delhi | Photo: SANJAY VISHWAKARMA

round 10-12 Aam Aadmi Party workers along with Model Town MLA Akhilesh Pati Tripathi barged into the Rajan Babu Tuberculosis Hospital in North Delhi last week and ordered the doctors to give a patient anti-TB drugs because they thought he had TB. The patient, the relative of an AAP worker, had been shifted from Hindu Rao Hospital to Rajan Babu as the volunteers thought that the patient was not getting proper treatment. "At that point, we were not sure whether the patient was suffering from TB. Until our diagnosis was done, we could not give the patient any medication," said Dr D.K. Seth, the director of Rajan Babu Hospital. As it turned out, the patient was detected with cancer and not TB. According to Dr Seth, the whole episode was disturbing for the hospital authorities. "The AAP volunteers interfered with our work, under the pretext of wanting to ensure that the patient received the right treatment," he said.

Akhilesh Tripati was unavailable for comment.

A doctor at the hospital said on the condition of anonymity that the AAP volunteers behaved like hooligans and threatened the staff. The hospital authorities also claimed that the volunteers demanded to inspect the hospital's kitchen. "If they really want to carry out such checks, it should be done in an orderly fashion by 2-3 people and not by a whole contingent," said a staff member.

Interestingly, such checks are being carried out rather arbitrarily, or not at all, as these correspondents found out while travelling across the city, visiting four hospitals between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. on Wednesday night and Thursday early morning. These hospitals are Rajan Babu TB Hospital in Kingsway Camp, Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan Hospital and Govind Ballabh Pant Hospital near Delhi Gate, and Bhagwan Mahaveer Hospital in Pitampura. No AAP volunteers or workers were working in any of the hospitals, which they have been claiming to do; and if they had visited these hospitals they had only ended up disrupting work.

"AAP volunteers visited this hospital just once in the last fortnight," said a surgeon at Bhagwan Mahaveer. The surgeon also claimed that a few AAP volunteers barged into one of the wards on Wednesday. "They forcibly entered the ward and began ordering the doctors around. These people are not trained medical practitioners. As a result, they ended up hindering the treatment rather than aiding it," said the surgeon.

Such interference will compromise doctor-patient trust and relationship, said the surgeon. "We treat anyone who comes to us, which is why we have become doctors. However, such behaviour on their part will create doubts in the mind of the patient about a doctor's competence and willingness to treat those in need," the surgeon said.

As for Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain, he has visited the Govind Ballabh Pant Hospital twice. According to a source at the hospital, "Jain visited once when he took oath in December and the other time to see his mother, who was undergoing treatment here." On both occasions, the source said, Jain made a few enquiries about the hospital staff but nothing more. "No other AAP volunteers have come to inspect the hospital."

Despite several attempts by these correspondents, the Health Minister remained inaccessible. He did not reply even to the text messages . His mobile was either busy or switched off. When the call connected a couple of times, he did not pick it up.

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