It has been found that patients at Sassoon General Hospital are asked to buy surgical caps, face masks, scissors, measuring tapes and the like from medical stores by the doctors at the government-run facility.
Instances of patients being asked to purchase these things by doctors from the gynaecology department have surfaced. A junior doctor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said patients are asked to bring packs of surgical caps and disposable face masks in bulk quantities and that there was nothing wrong in doing so as there was a shortage of these things in the hospital.
“We sometimes ask patients to fetch such equipment because there is a shortage of caps and masks. And there is no harm in doing so as we are using these things for nobody else but the patients,” the doctor said. “We ask them to bring these things in bulk so that everyone does not have to buy and the burden gets divided among patients.”
‘It’s a shame’
Advocate Aseem Sarode said it was a shame that government policies were not being followed in the biggest state-run tertiary care hospital in the city.
“According to government policies, state-run hospitals should provide such material free of cost to patients, especially people belonging to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) category and senior citizens, along with the medicines,” Sarode said.
In one case, a senior citizen from the BPL category was asked to get surgical caps and face masks by a junior doctor in Ward 21 of Sassoon hospital.
In another case, a woman in the same ward was asked to bring a measuring tape.
Dr Ramesh Bhosale, head of the gynaecology department in Sassoon, said that these things happen because some junior doctors are ignorant.
“Some times the junior doctors, out of ignorance, ask patients to buy things that should be provided free. Now on, we will ensure that the doctors are more aware and do not repeat this,” Bhosale said. “We will even ask patients to directly report such incidents to us if any doctor continues to do the same thing.”
Dr D G Kulkarni, medical superintendent of Sassoon hospital, said the hospital would take care patients are not forced to buy medical equipment in future.
“I completely regret this practice and will make sure that such malpractices are not repeated again. However, sometimes the doctors are forced to do so as we are short of such equipment,” Kulkarni said.
Dr Pravin Shingare, acting director, Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER), said there was no problem with supply of medical equipment to Sassoon and an investigation would be conducted to find out who was guilty of asking patients to buy things for the hospital.
“We will probe the case and action will be taken against the doctor concerned. We will also take action against persons who are giving wrong information to the press. There has been no dearth of supply of medical equipment to Sassoon hospital and therefore there was no need to ask the patients to buy any medical equipment or medicines,” he said.
Shingare added that patients should write a letter to the hospital dean and superintendent complaining about being made to buy medical equipment and also provide the necessary documents as proof of this having happened.