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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014

Transfer of SSKM doctor gives rise to controversy

Subhendu Maiti, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, August 05, 2013
First Published: 13:40 IST(5/8/2013) | Last Updated: 13:43 IST(5/8/2013)

In a dubious move, the Mamata government has transferred cardiologist and electrophysiological (EP) study expert Dipankar Mukherjee to the relatively lesser-equipped Bankura Sammilani Medical College Hospital that doesn’t even have a unit he specialises in.

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Mukherjee is one of the four EP study experts currently posted in state-run hospitals and had been solely in charge of the EP unit at SSKM.

An EP study, in medical terms, is an invasive procedure to test the heart’s electrical system that generates heartbeat.

The medical procedure primarily involves insertion of a small plastic catheter (tube) through a vein in the groin (or neck in some cases) and is threaded into the heart using fluoroscopy, a special X-ray to guide the catheter.

The EP study helps diagnose rhythm abnormalities in the heart.

The result of the study also helps the doctors determine such curative measures as the insertion of a pacemaker with medications.

With Mukherjee’s transfer, the EP study unit worth more than R1 crore at SSKM could be rendered virtually rudderless, said a doctor at the cardiological department of the hospital. SSKM happens to be the only state-run facility in the state to house a dedicated EP study unit.

The move follows the transfer another cardiologist, who worked with Mukherjee at the SSKM unit, to the Calcutta National Medical College.

“I have received the transfer order and would have to move to the Bankura facility. I don’t know who will run the EP unit here in my absence. I am ready to put in additional hours here twice a week, should the government ask me to do so,” Mukherjee told HT.

The move has already caused a flutter or two among a section of senior officials in the health department.

“I can’t see the sense in moving him (Mukherjee) to a hospital, which has no dedicated EP study unit. The government has already handed similar transfers to such senior specialist doctors as Shyamal Das (former head of neuro medicine at Bangur Institute of Neurology) and Arun Singh (a neo-natal expert at SSKM),” a state health official said.

The sudden move to shunt Singh out to the College of Medicine and Sagar Dutta State General Hospital in Kamarhati had evoked much outrage across the medical fraternity.

Das was asked to take up a new position at the Burdwan Medical College and Hospital, despite it not having the requisite facilities to aid more research in his field.

A much-revered name in medical circles, Das’s research paper on neuro treatment was published in such leading international medical and science journals as Nature.

Singh is also credited with setting up the neo-natal care units at the SSKM and the Purulia Deben Mahato hospital.

The neo-natal facility in Purulia has since been held as a template to be followed across the country and overseas.

However, the Kamarhati facility where Singh is currently based, houses no such unit.

Sensing the need of his expertise to implement its flagship national child healthcare programme, the Union health ministry too had lately put in a request with the Mamata government for his release.


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