NEW DELHI: The move to widen the pool of doctors shortlisted for the selection of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)’s director by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet on Monday has raised many eyebrows. The suspicion is that senior heart surgeon and professor Dr A K Bishoi may be included in the final list.
Dr Bishoi is said to have a “controversial record”, with disciplinary proceedings initiated against him. Besides, the nursing staff has reportedly complained about his behaviour. On Tuesday, a meeting was called by the Union Health Ministry to discuss the expansion of the pool of doctors to be shortlisted for the post of AIIMS director which is currently being held by Dr Randeep Guleria. He was given an extension of three months in March. His tenure will end on June 24.
“The pool of doctors for the top job is being expanded and we will finalise a name by June 24. Dr AK Bishoi’s name is also being considered to be put in the list of those shortlisted for the post,” said a senior official in the Health Ministry. When The Morning Standard contacted Dr Bishoi to know his reaction on the same, he refused to comment.
According to officials, Dr Bishoi is a senior doctor who has been working with the institute for long and has conducted several important surgeries. Bishoi is 68th in the seniority list of the AIIMS doctors and there are senior doctors before him who have not been considered for the top job so far, including the senior-most in the hierarchy — Dr Subrata Sinha.
A senior official said that so far the shortlisted candidates for the top job have been mostly considered based on seniority and they headed at least one department in the institute. The tenure of Dr Bishoi has reportedly been mired in controversies, including disciplinary proceedings initiated against him in several cases, in 2015, 2009 and 2007. In one case, he was accused of leaving a screw in a patient’s body after conducting surgery in 2007. The patient subsequently passed away. In 2009, he was also accused of certifying a Sulabh International sweeper as a perfusionist and helping him get a job in the Cardio-Vascular Thoracic Surgery Department of the GB Pant Hospital.
In addition, there have been a number of complaints against the doctor, including charges of harassment, intimidation and inappropriate behaviour with nursing officers. Earlier in March, the three names were short-listed by the search-cum-selection committee and subsequently approved by the Institute Body, the top decision-making body of the AIIMS and were sent to the ACC for final approval.
The three shortlisted candidates for the director’s post are Dr Nikhil Tandon, head of the department of endocrinology; Rajesh Malhotra, chief of AIIMS Trauma Centre and the head of the department of orthopaedics; and Pramod Garg, professor in the gastroenterology department.
The four-member search-cum-selection committee tasked with short-listing names for the AIIMS director’s post is headed by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan. Apart from Bhushan, the committee includes Secretary of Department of Biotechnology Rajesh S Gokhale, Principal Scientific Advisor to the government K Vijay Raghavan, and Delhi University V-C Yogesh Singh.
Apart from Dr A K Bishoi, the other three shortlisted candidates for the director’s post are – Dr Nikhil Tandon, head of the department of endocrinology; Rajesh Malhotra, chief of AIIMS Trauma Centre and the head of the department of orthopaedics; and Pramod Garg, professor in the gastroenterology department.