Dr Premlata Kashinath Patne
BMC's oversights can fill books, but this one might just be its riskiest. A doctor, whose license hadn't been renewed for 13 months, not only kept withdrawing her salary amounting to Rs 11 lakh in the period, but was even promoted without a proper check of valid documents.
This is in direct violation of Medical Council of India (MCI) rules, which requires doctors across the country to renew their registration every five years to be liable to practice in any state.
RTI exposes doc
The information that Dr Premlata Kashinath Patne, a medical officer with VN Desai Hospital, Santacruz, who was supposed to renew her license on June 15, 2015, but did so only 13 months later, on August 1, 2016, came to light after an RTI in this regard - based on a tip-off by a blood bank officer - was filed by RTI activist Chetan Kothari.
In that time, though she was unqualified to practice in any hospital, she continued discharging duty as medical officer and withdrew a salary of a total Rs 11 lakh for the tainted period. In fact, according to the RTI, as she was promoted in this period, her salary changed from Rs 70,000 per month to Rs 90,000 per month.
Following her promotion as the medical officer of Pathology on February 22, 2016, despite no license, she has since put her signature to 368 HIV reports, Hepatitis B and C reports, Syphilis reports and Malaria reports on blood bags.
"When a doctor's registration gets over and doesn't renew it, the person is not liable to take a salary or sign on authorized papers. We excuse a delay of 1-2 months, but a delay of thirteen months is inexcusable. We will look into the matter," said an officer from the Maharashtra Medical Council.
However, Dr Ashok Ghongade, medical superintendent, VN Desai Hospital, said, "I am unaware that she practiced without renewing her registration. I will have to check."
When he was reminded that Dr Patne already submitted documents to him, he added, "I have received the documents, but need to go through it. I will look into the matter."
The other side
Meanwhile, Dr Patne refuted the information and said, "This is just an allegation and I have all the evidence that I am registered."
But when asked why she delayed her registration and worked without a valid license, she said, "I am a junior doctor here so won't be able to comment on it. I have submitted all my documents to the medical superintendent."
"After a blood bag goes through clearance test of diseases like HIV, Hepatitis and others, only an authorised person is allowed to sign it. But when the person who signed the documents doesn't hold a valid renewed registration, these bags are therefore, technically and legally speaking, untested," explained Kothari.
How to renew a doctor's license
Doctors in the state must earn 30 credit hours by attending 'recognised' conferences or by publishing books to renew their registration. Practitioners who fail to do so lose their registration.
3,964 Blood groupings Patne performed in the 13 months