Amid pressure from docs: North MCD reinstates student doctor

New Delhi: Student doctor from Hindu Rao Hospital has been reinstated back to his post after pressure from doctors of various hospitals, after he was terminated, for donating PPE kits, by the Commissioner of North Delhi Municipal Corporation Varsha Joshi.

Letters were written to Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan who intervened in the matter assuring that the matter will be resolved. "Dr. Piyush Pushkar Singh had been allotted Post MBBS DNB seat in the specialty of Orthopedic Surgery at Hindu Rao Hospital w.e.f. 30-05-2017 for three year," said the statement from the hospital.

The hospital said that the reason for termination was "bringing disrepute to the institution by not following proper administrative channel for redressal of his grievances," adding that the Singh's grievances have not been taken up before the Grievance Redressal Committee, which is why the termination is being cancelled.

Singh had claimed he had distributed personal protective equipment and face shields to hospital staff after procuring them from a non-governmental organisation.

Singh, a student in the orthopaedics department, also alleged that authorities terminated his services as he highlighted lapses and wrongdoings in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.

"Dr Piyush Pushkar Singh, DNB student in Orthopaedics Department is terminated from his services with immediate effect for bringing disrepute to the institution," an order issued on Wednesday said.

Joshi, under whose jurisdiction the hospital falls, accused Singh of diverting protective gear. "All material donated was to go to the medical superintendent," she said. "We have maintained a very transparent account of each donated item. He didn't just divert the material but also unauthorisedly distributed it to persons who don't need it. He cannot decide priority of requirements. This was the immediate and essential reason for his termination."

The decision, however received criticism from doctors from various hospitals, who in turn wrote to Harsh Vardhan requesting him to intervene in the matter. Residents Doctor from Safdarjung Hospital said, "This shows the attitude of the administration towards us. This is disappointing and is bringing our morale down."

The Resident Doctors' Association of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences also criticised the action against Singh. "Stop targeting doctors," Srinivas Rajkumar, the general secretary of the Resident Doctors' Association, wrote on Twitter. "Why should a doctor arrange PPE by himself? The administration should ensure PPE is provided to doctors while on duty and avoid interference and unruly behavior by top executives."

Joshi meanwhile is said to have used derogatory statements while interacting with some Twitter users. This was also taken up to which Harsh Vardhan said, "I have just spoken to Varsha Joshi Ji on the phone & asked her to call the aggrieved doctor & resolve the issue. Pl wait for her action. I'm sure she will take appropriate redressal steps."

Singh said that the hospital authorities took offence that he distributed the medical equipment. "The hospital's medical superintendent told me to return them," he added.

Mayor Avtar Singh said the action was taken as he would "constantly post things on social media against the Hindu Rao establishment". "You cannot keep doing this against your employer," he added.

The doctor denied the allegations against him and said he will challenge the decision in court. "I was the one who arranged the face shields after speaking to an NGO," Singh said. "We don't risk our lives daily to be treated like this. No enquiry was set up to probe the allegations." Standing committee head of the North Corporation, Jai Prakash, said they will constitute an inquiry committee to probe the matter.

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