SIX POST-graduate students of the Radiotherapy Department of the Gandhi Medical College (GMC) on Friday sought the MP Human Rights Commission’s intervention on what they called deplorable conditions of cancer patients in the hospital. They also presented before the Commission problems faced by PG students owing to non-recognition of the radiotherapy course by the Medical Council of India (MCI).
Junior doctors have decided to go on a mass casual leave on October 16 and 17 to protest the neglect of cancer patients. The Junior Doctors’ Association of the GMC has also decided to call a token strike on October 17.
PG students are wearing black badges and cancer patients are supporting them with placards. The students said the radiotherapy course started in 1994 was yet to get MCI recognition and hence post graduates after passing out were not getting Government jobs.
Lack of basic facilities, including a separate ward for cancer patients was putting patients to hardship. Neither college authorities nor the State Government was paying attention to the matter, despite it being brought to their notice time and again, they said.
The memorandum to the MPHRC states there are only 10 temporary beds for cancer patients although Hamidia Hospital is a referral centre and poor patients from remote rural areas of the State seek treatment here. There was lack of staff as per MCI norms and also paucity of nurses.
The radioactive source of the Cobalt-60 machine that should be changed every five years has not been replaced in the last 12 years leading to prolonged exposure of patients to the machine, giving rise to dangers of side-effects.
Similarly, the Rs one crore worth Gamma camera machine (used for diagnosis of cancer in bones) has been non-functional for the past many years due to lack of radioactive source and staff. The hospital management is also unable to provide chemotherapy drugs to patients.
PG students have also filed a public interest petition in the Jabalpur High Court that ordered a stay on grant of funds to the private institutes by the State Government. The students said in the PIL the State Government was diverting funds received from the Union Government to private institutes.
Speaking to the Hindustan Times, a PG student of the department said MPHRC authorities had said they would inquire into the matter with the State Health Department and if required they would visit the hospital to get first-hand information on the situation. Dean Dr M K Saraswat could not be contacted for comments.