SurferSpeak | What ails AIIMS?

Our surfer, a former alumnus of the institute, gives a rare insider's view.

india Updated: Apr 04, 2006 12:45 IST

For quite some time now AIIMS has been in news for all the wrong reasons. What's ailing AIIMS is the question all want to know. After all, it's not every other day that the top medical faculty leaves a premier institute.

Many blame the faculty for the desire for greener pastures while others blame the politicisation and mismanagement of the institute.

Having being a graduate of AIIMS I wish to bring into your notice some facts that will help you figure out the probable beginnings of this 'institutional morbidity'.

I have had very warm relationship with one of the faculty members who left AIIMS two years ago. He was additional professor in department of surgery and an AIIMSONIAN (medical graduate of AIIMS). When he decided to quit the institute I had many questions in my mind.

What were the circumstances that made a senior consultant quit the famouss medical institute who has spent 30 years of his productive life with it? Is money all that matters? Is AIIMS losing its lustre?

And the answers he gave were like electro-convulsive shock. I felt as if I had been an ostrich with its head buried in the sand.

Why did he decide to leave the august institution?

"AIIMS has always been my home. But now I think that if I continue here, I will be doing injustice to my family and myself. Enough is enough! I can no longer work under the people who has nothing to do with medical ethics."

"People taking bribes for admitting patients, private wards being booked for politicians' kin, funds meant for purchasing medicines being used for renovation of administrators' bungalows, promotions and appointments are being done solely on the basis of political connections.

"In an interview for promotion to the rank of associate professor I was told that I was promoted but I needed a telephone call from some big man to confirm it! Naturally I was dropped. This institute is like a dustbin having golden shine."

These then were his words.

Director Dr Venugopal - The importance of being 'honest'

"Just like any other person holding a big chair, he too likes people mouthing sweet things about him."

'Rags-to-riches' story of Registrar VP Gupta

"This happens only in AIIMS! Nowhere in the world can a babu (clerk) become registrar of the medical institute. During my under graduation days, he was a clerk. Yes, simply a clerk! No one could have imagined that he would become a top administrator. He knew how to keep the big guns happy. He knew it all.

"Venugopal kept him under his shadow and now you can see where he is. Isn't it amazing that the top talent of this country, the medicos of AIIMS have to address him 'sir'? What else could he do except ruining the premier institute? Give him forty thousands bucks and get a handsome house job..."

Oh, that illustrious faculty!

"There are many good people here. But I have seen many of the celebrated clinicians fighting like cats and dogs over foreign trips. The good ones never get the chance."

WHO aid: Into that big 'black hole'

"You know the institute is given so much money that every single patient here can be treated free of cost, absolutely free of cost. But what do you see in the wards - patients even have to pay for disposable syringes. Where did the money go? Just have a look at the interiors of administrators' offices, furnishing of their homes, etc. You will get the clue."

"Faculty members having good connections with the director or/and ministers easily get fancy projects. They call it research though. These projects are like black holes. They have gravitational force acting very strongly towards institutional funds. Most of the money that the institute receives from World Health Organisation (WHO) is allotted to community medicine department and even undergraduates know that the aid finds its way right into the belly of community medicines faculty."

HoD - The lord of the universe

"Every Head of the Department (HoD) is the God of his/her own universe. He is the ultimate ruler. Better call him 'chief' instead of HoD or he will feel insulted. When my mother-in-law was seriously bedridden in department of neurosurgery, I had to take permission from him before I could ask the resident doctors regarding her condition. Because no resident would utter a single word without his chief's permission."

The peanuts they call salary

Even a sub-inspector in Delhi Police earns more that what I earned.

The final blow

"My mother-in-law died here. She was a relative of a senior consultant but she didn't get adequate attention she needed. You know why? Because I didn't have warm relations with either HoD of neurosurgery or the director. This was unbearable."

He is now working in Sri Lanka with Apollo group of hospitals. His students still remember him as a dedicated teacher and a ruthless speaker.

Our contributor is a former student of AIIMS and wishes to keep his identity under wraps.

All views and opinions presented in this article are solely those of the surfers and do not necessarily represent those of

First Published: Apr 04, 2006 11:39 IST