‘Dead’ doctor posted to Bihar’s DMCH
A posting order for doctors issued by the Bihar health department on August 12 purportedly carries the name of a lady doctor who died around 11 months back.
This is the second time in five months that the health department appeares to have goofed up with its posting order for doctors. Earlier, on March 8, the department promoted and posted as civil surgeon of Sheikhpura, Dr Ram Narayan Ram, who had died on February 7.
According to the latest order, Dr Shiwangee was posted to Darbhanga Medical College Hospital (DMCH) as a senior resident in the department of anesthesiology. However, the head of the department at the hospital said he was shown news reports of her death last year.
"Some journalists showed us newspaper cuttings of the news related to the doctor's death last September when she was posted at the Nalanda Medical College Hospital in Patna. All I know for sure is that she has not joined my department as yet," associate professor and head of the department of anaesthesiology at DMCH, said.
The government’s rule requires the 406 doctors on the list to join their place of posting within a week from the date of the order.
“You should pose this question to the department,” said Dr Manibhushan Sharma, medical superintendent, DMCH, when asked about Dr Shiwangee’s posting to the anaesthesiology department of his hospital.
“We get to hear from people that the doctor, posted here as per the order, died some 11 months back,” he added.
Dr Sharma then cited a technicality to suggest that her name could have been added “erroneously” to the list.
“The posting order in the case of Dr Shiwangee clearly mentions under the column of ‘online registration number’ that she ‘did not apply’ [for posting]. Registration numbers are mentioned in case of applicants [seeking posting]. So, how was a person, who did not apply, posted to some place. Her name may have figured erroneously in the list,” he said, referring to the fact that only those who applied for these merit-based preferential postings could have been on the list but the entry against Dr Shiwangee's name suggested she hadn't applied, which pointed to the possibility of a goof-up.
The head of department of anaesthesiology at Nalanda Medical College Hospital (NMCH), Patna, where a doctor named Shiwangee was previously posted, said: "One Dr Shiwangee, a senior resident, died after some days of her posting to our department last year. However, I will not vouch for the fact whether she is the same doctor the health department has posted to the DMCH," said Dr Ashok Kumar.
A senior officer in the health department refused to comment, saying he was not the competent person to speak to the media.
It is clear that only the health department can confirm if it has indeed ended up issuing a posting order for a doctor who died in September last year. However, a doctor, who was a batchmate of the deceased anaesthesiologist, said on condition of anonymity, "There was only one Shiwangee in our batch to take up MD anaesthesiology. Moreover, the government order does not mention any other Shiwangee in the list of 406 doctors reshuffled.”
He, too, pointed out that the posting order clearly mentioned against her name that she 'did not apply' when the health department invited applications in February for merit-based choice posting for doctors, who had completed their post graduation course from state-run medical colleges, for the mandatory three-year tenure in government facilities. It could only mean one thing, he said.
The earlier goof up in the March 8 order involving Dr Ram Narayan Ram was raised by opposition leaders in the legislative council to embarrass the government.
Health officials had then clarified that the incumbent was alive during the interviews for promotion and the department did not get to know about the doctor’s death in the intervening period before the transfer orders were issued.