A medical lab technician at the blood bank unit of the Shaheed Babu Labh Singh Civil Hospital, Jalandhar, refused service to a poor family despite the cell-separator machine installed there was in a working condition, an internal inquiry has revealed.
After denied the service, the family of 11-year-old Vishwajeet, the patient who urgently needed O negative blood cells, arranged money from a moneylender on five per cent interest and paid `17,000 at a private hospital for cell separator on November 1.
The family hails from Rahon town in Nawanshahr district.
Moreover, the hospital authorities left the erring staff member with just a warning and did not take any action against him even as it could have cost Vishwajeet’s life.
Mohit Kumar (22), friend of Vishwajeet’s elder brother, filed a complaint against the blood bank unit.
As per the inquiry report, a copy of which is with the Hindustan Times, has revealed that on November 1 when the complainant, Mohit Kumar, a resident of Katehra Mohalla, Basti Sheikh, approached the blood bank for service, all machines in bank were in working condition.
The report nailed the medical lab technician, Narinder Kumar, who denied service to the complainant by lying that the machines were out of order.
Medical superintendent Dr Kelash Kapoor accepted inquiry report prepared by senior medical officer (SMO) Dr Harjit Singh and issued a “stern warning” to the medical lab technician.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Mohit, who works as a medical representative, said on November 1 he received a call from his friend who said his brother needed O negative blood cells urgently at the Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) following which he arranged a donor.
He said that when he reached the blood bank unit of civil hospital with the donor at 9 pm, a woman staff member asked him to arrange another person with O negative blood group since the one had arranged had below 2 lakh blood cells in his body.
Kumar said he sent messages on the social media and found another donor who reached the hospital at around 10 pm.
Mohit said when they reached the blood bank unit, another staff person Narinder Kumar had clocked in for night shift. Narinder asked them to go to a private hospital in Maqsudan, claiming that machines were not in a working condition.
He said they were shocked to hear this but had no option but to go to a Maqsudan-based hospital, around 3 km from there. They reached there at 11 pm but the doctors informed them that they did not have a cell-separator machine.
“Then, we contacted a charitable hospital on Garha Road, located 8 km away, which further denied the service. Finally, we reached another private hospital at Civil Lines which charged Rs 17,000 and then blood cells were given to Vishwajeet,” Mohit added.
Kumar further said he filed a complaint in this connection on November 2 at the civil hospital. Mohit said he was also pressurised to withdraw his complaint.
Nitin Puri, president, Hindustan Welfare Blood Donors Club, accused the civil hospital authorities of sparing Narinder Kumar with a mere warning.
Puri said the family should also have been compensated as the service was available at the civil hospital at `8,500, for which they had to pay `17,000 at a private hospital.
When contacted, state health minister Surjit Kumar Jyani said, “I will talk to the medical superintendent in this regard and will transfer the irresponsible employee to another district.”
“If we suspend the erring employee, it will be difficult for the department to arrange a skilled worker soon,” Jayani added.