More than two dozen patients in queue for surgeries at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) were in for the shock for their lives, on discovering that they had been tricked into coming for their operations at the institute on Thursday, when they were merely to be used as dummies (live patient specimens) for practical examinations of the final-year students of Master of Surgery.
The patients arrived at around 8am at the surgical ward and were served morning refreshment. Of them, around five were short-listed for the examination, which was being conducted by an internal examiner.
Little heed was paid to their requests for information on the procedure to be followed for their ‘surgeries’.
Most of these patients belonged to far-flung places in the region and they were getting treatment in a unit working under Dr Rajinder Singh, head, department of surgery, and Dr GR Verma, a professor in the department of general surgery.
The patients were repeatedly examined by six-seven students for their academic activity and use during the day.
Throwing all the medical ethics and protocols of examination to the wind, these patients were not informed even once that they had been called from far-flung places to conduct an examination and not for treatment.
What makes the matter of concealment of the infor mation worse was that even on Thursday morning, patients received calls from doctors of the department of the general surgery asking them to come.
They were again assured that their surgeries will be done on Friday. When some of the patients’ attendants tried to inquire from any staff member on the purpose of the visit, they were told by one Dr VC Jha, that the surgery department could not help and that they would have to come again.
“The list of surgeries is prepared in OPD, so you need to go there,” Dr Jha told the patients and attendants.
AK Dogra, a 73-year-old resident of Sector 42 Chandigarh, who was in queue for a hernia repair surgery, said that it was unethical on the part of the institute to call patients for examination purposes of the doctors on the pretext of surgery.
“It is a patient’s prerogative on whether he wants to become part of an examination or not. I
wonder, why these doctors behave like kings and queens of a feudal land. They are also government servants, how can they forget medical ethics,” he asked.
Dr Rajinder Singh did not take repeated calls and his deputy Dr GR Verma claimed that he is busy and would call back. He could not be contacted later.