Health minister Veena George has hit back strongly against Kerala Medical College Teachers' Association (KGMCTA) and Indian Medical Association for expressing resentment at the suspension of two senior Thiruvananthapuram Medical College doctors following the suspected mishandling of a donor kidney and the subsequent death of the recipient on June 20. Both the organisations had said that the doctors were being made scapegoats before a proper enquiry was done.
"If not doctors, who else should be held responsible," the minister asked on Tuesday. "Each patient who comes to a hospital is important. And the entire responsibility of the patient lies with the doctor and not the students. Strict protocols have been laid down and any failure would be taken seriously by the government," the minister said.
Further, she said the suspension of two doctors was not a disciplinary action. "People in charge should take responsibility. There is no need for a protest on that count," she said. The KGMCTA had warned of an agitation if the suspensions were not withdrawn. The heads of Nephrology and Urology departments of the Medical College were suspended on June 20, pending enquiry. The minister had said that a preliminary report submitted by the additional chief secretary (health) had pointed out a failure of department-level coordination.
The minister also warned the doctors that certain long-standing practices would not be allowed. "Strict instructions have been given and if these are not adhered to, there will be action," Veena George said.
Nonetheless, the minister had made it clear on June 20 itself that there was no delay in carrying out the operation. She said the recipient - Suresh Kumar, a 62-year-old end-stage renal disease patient - was taken for hemodialysis at 4 p.m., more than a hour before the donor's kidney had arrived.
The only issues she had pointed out, on the basis of the preliminary report of the additional chief secretary, were the lack of coordination and the circumstances that caused 'outsiders' to receive the ice-box container carrying the kidney and then rush inside the super-speciality wing with it.