JJ ophthalmology doctors accuse ex-dean’s son of manipulation, intimidation

May 30, 2023 01:15 AM IST

Resident doctors at Sir JJ Hospital in Mumbai have filed a complaint against Dr Sumeet Lahane, son of the hospital's former dean, alleging that he is attempting to manipulate and intimidate them into withdrawing a complaint against his father. The complaint was made in April 2016, when nearly 450 resident doctors went on strike against the head of the ophthalmology department and the then dean. Dr Sumeet has reportedly continued to visit the department and perform surgeries, despite not holding an official position at the hospital. The National Medical Commission has been asked to investigate.

Mumbai: The ongoing investigation into allegations against the former dean of Sir JJ Hospital, Dr TP Lahane, took a new turn on Monday as the ophthalmology department resident doctors filed a complaint against the former Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) director’s son, Dr Sumeet Lahane.

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The resident doctors alleged that Dr Sumeet has been attempting to manipulate and intimidate them into withdrawing their initial complaint against his father.

In April 2016, nearly 450 resident doctors went on an indefinite strike against the ophthalmology department’s head Dr Ragini Parekh and the then dean Dr T P Lahane.

In a letter addressed to Dr Pallavi Saple, dean of Sir JJ Hospital, the resident doctors emphasised that although Dr Sumeet no longer holds an official position in the hospital, he continues to visit the department and perform surgeries.

“We have requested the dean to look into the matter on how Dr Sumeet can come and operate in the hospital even when he does not hold any post,” a resident doctor from the ophthalmology department.

Another resident doctor said with the on-going enquiry, Dr Sumeet has been coming to the ward and trying to manipulate the stand of the resident doctors. “He is coming to the ward and operation theatre more frequently after the resident doctors have complained against his father. He has contacted multiple residents through WhatsApp messages and asked them to withdraw their complaints,” the doctor said.

Supporting the resident doctors, Dr Shubham Soni, president, Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), said both father and son do not hold any post but still are ostensibly running the department. “They have been appointed as post-graduate guides too. This is complete mockery of the National Medical Commission guidelines,” Dr Soni added.

MARD has also demanded a ban on Dr Sumeet’s entry into the campus till the enquiry is done. “We have also asked the dean to allow him to operate on the patients if he is part of the faculty. The monopoly of Dr Lahane and his son needs to be urgently addressed as it is affecting the academic environment in the department,” Dr Soni said.

Meanwhile, Dr Saple said, “The letter has been forwarded to the three-member committee which is presently investigating the allegations.”

The three-member committee was set up on Friday to review allegations made by the resident doctors on Dr Lahane and Dr Ragini Parekh, the head of the department of ophthalmology.

The allegations of the resident doctors ranged from lack of surgical opportunities, lack of academics, lack of research activity and impolite behaviour that the residents face on a regular basis. The primary demand of the resident doctors is that the department should run as per the NMC guidelines.

Dr Sumeet was unavailable for comment.

During the 2016 strike, the resident doctors had claimed that both the senior doctors had been conducting major eye surgeries without letting resident doctors gain any practical knowledge. In a letter to the state medical education minister, directorate of medical education and research, the MARD had requested transfer of the then dean and the HOD with immediate effect.

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