Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) Specialist Doctors' Association and Indian Medical Association (IMA), Ludhiana unit, staged a protest against the registration of criminal case against Dr Sudha Vasudev, incharge of drug de-addiction centre of Lord Mahavira Civil Hospital, on Saturday. The doctors held a rally and demanded a fair inquiry into the matter.
The protesters also observed a pen down strike after 11 am, which left the patients harassed at Lord Mahavira Civil Hospital. Even before 11 am, no doctor was was there at the outpatient department (OPD). But emergency services remained operational in the hospital.
The district president of PCMS Specialist Doctors' Association, Dr Avinash Jindal, said, “Dr Sudha was a competent doctor who can prescribe the medicines meant for de-addiction. She was prescribing and selling de-addiction medicines, not drugs, so why sections under NDPS Act has been imposed?”
IMA Ludhiana president Dr Raj Kumar Sharma said, “We want a fair inquiry into the case before her arrest. Before police action, there should be an inquiry which should include an independent expert. Registering criminal case against doctors is uncalled for and police shouldn't do this in haste.”
It may be recalled that Dr Sudha Vasudev was arrested on Friday for selling sedative pills to drug addicts at Kohli Hospital, Mullanpur Dakha.
Dr Raina Garg joins Ludhiana
Dr Raina Garg, psychiatrist from Jagraon, joined the de-addiction centre at Lord Mahavira Civil Hospital on Saturday morning, replacing Dr Sudha Vasudev. The de-addiction centre remained closed for the day.
Doctors unclear about norms
The doctors protesting the arrest of Dr Sudha Vasudev are not aware about the rules for selling and prescribing de-addiction medicines.
When Dr Avinash Jindal was asked if a psychiatrist could sell de-addiction medicines outside the hospital, he showed ignorance. Then after some time, he agreed that she should have a license to sell or prescribe the de-addiction medicines, which she didn't have.
Dr Raj Kumar Sharma also showed ignorance about the rules of practicing or selling de-addictive medicines without license.
Assistant civil surgeon Dr KS Saini said, “No government doctor can sell de-addiction medicines without license. Government doctors can't even practise outside the hospitals as government pays non-practicing allowance (NPA) to them.”
Talking about administrative action, Dr Saini said, “We haven't received any written orders yet, but as per rules, if a doctor gets convicted or a case is registered, he or she automatically gets suspended from the office.”