One of India’s most coveted medical colleges has stage managed facts to get the top medical body’s approval to start its super-speciality courses. Vardhaman Mahavir Medical College (VMMC), the teaching wing of Safdarjung Hospital, manipulated facts to get the Medical Council of India’s (MCI) approval for its super-speciality courses in cardiac surgery, urology and pulmonary medicine. For Master of Chirurgical (MCh, a super-speciality degree) in Cardio-Thoracic Vascular Surgery (CTVS), the MCI norms require three senior faculty members — professor, associate professor and assistant professor.
“A three-faculty team makes a unit, as mandated by the MCI for teaching CTVS at the super-speciality level. Here, they have given Dr Jagdish Prasad’s name for professor. Prasad was transferred from the hospital on a full-time posting as additional DG, serving in the health ministry,” said a doctor from Safdarjung Hospital, requesting anonymity.
“He is not even part of the hospital any more. Dr RK Soni, another associate professor from the department of surgery, was shown to be a part of the CTVS team,” the doctor added. “With only one assistant professor level faculty — Dr NS Jhajharia — the college intends to get seats for super-speciality approved. The college has misinformed the inspection committee to get their approval for starting the course,” he said.
Similarly, in the department of urology, for the MCh degree, a three-member team is required, for which the college only has one faculty member.
“For the assistant professor, VMMC has attached a letter of recommendation from the UPSC. This is completely absurd, as the appointment is still underway. The candidate has to go through several rounds of examinations — like physical and medical fitness and interview — before being approved for the faculty position. He may decide to join somewhere else, who knows?” said the doctor. And for the second professor, they have yet again listed a doctor from the department of surgery — Dr Vimal Bhandari.
In the department of chest and tuberculosis (pulmonary medicine), the MCI requires the hospital to have minimum 20 beds for the approval of the DM (Doctor of Medicine, a super-speciality degree) course and 30 beds for MD (Doctor of Medicine, a post-graduate medical degree). The designated capacity at Safdarjung Hospital is only 12.
“On the day of inspection, the hospital authorities had placed 10 additional beds to increase the capacity to 22,” said a source from the hospital.
This reporter confirmed this with a member of the inspection committee, who did not wish to be named. Hindustan Times, on independent investigation on Friday, found only 16 beds. “The hospital does not have the required infrastructure to train students for DM and MCh degrees. This will lead to the institute producing poorly-trained doctors,” said a member of the inspecting committee, unwilling to be identified.
The seven-member team, headed by Janak Juneja — a retired IAS officer — also included Dr AK Agarwal, dean, Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC), Dr HS Hira, professor, department of medicine, MAMC, Dr Iqbal Singh, professor, department of urology, University College of Medical Sciences, Dr H Kataria, department of orthopaedics, Lady Hardinge Medical College, Dr Dharmendra Kumar, principal, Institute for Physically Handicapped and Vijay Kumar, convenor, IP University.
The institute authorities maintain they have not bent norms. “I was on leave from Monday to Thursday. When the team came for inspection, but I am sure there was no anomaly in our documentation,” said Dr NK Mohanty, medical superintendent, Safdarjung Hospital.
“I’m not concerned about CTVS department... (in the) medicine department, we have adequate number of beds, as required by MCI, and for urology, we have more staff than needed,” he said.