Patients suffer as gastro wing of MKCG lies defunct
Professor appointed in Jan has gone on leave leaving medical students, patients helpless
BERHAMPUR: Odisha government may boast of transforming healthcare by opening new medical colleges and upgrading facilities but the fact is patients are either struggling for treatment or forced to pay through their nose at private clinics due to acute shortage of doctors and infrastructure in MKCG Medical College and Hospital at Berhampur, one of the oldest in the state.
Bereft of faculty and physical infrastructure like beds, the medical gastroenterology wing of MKCG has virtually become defunct. A professor appointed in January has gone on leave leaving the medical students and patients high and dry. Medical equipment like upper GI endoscope, C-arm and colonoscope worth crores of rupees, stacked in a room, are gathering dust. The equipment are yet to be installed due to space constraints in the one-room department.
Even as Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had announced the department will be made functional in 2021, the first appointment of an assistant professor in the medical gastroenterology wing was made in June 2022. While the professor and head of the department, who was appointed on January 12 this year went on leave after joining in March, a lone assistant professor is managing the show. The posts of associate professor, senior and junior residents are all lying vacant.
Patients coming with complaints of digestive and liver diseases and related complications are allegedly being advised to get diagnostic tests done in private centres that charge more than `3,000 for full colonoscopy and over Rs 1,000 for distal colonoscopy.
Senior advocate and convenor of Berhampur-based Manav Adhikar Manch Abani Kumar Gaya said patients are forced to pay from their pockets despite the hospital having sophisticated equipment. “More than two years have passed since the department was opened, but the authorities are yet to provide adequate facilities including beds for indoor patients. Only OPD service is available, that too not regular, due to lack of adequate doctors and infrastructure,” he pointed out.
Sources said the hospital authorities are arranging space for the gastroenterology department in the PMR building where the medicine department is now functioning. The second floor of the building will be converted into gastroenterology department after the medicine ward is shifted to the old paediatric building by August.
Dean and principal Prof Santosh Kumar Mishra admitted the department lacks infrastructure and faculty. “The professor went on leave after joining and serving for some days. However, patient care has not been affected as the assistant professor is looking after it,” he said. Health secretary Shalini Pandit assured she would look into the matter.