Collectors asking about maternal deaths beyond their departmental scope of knowledge: TNGDA doctors

"Deans of medical college hospitals also take part in the monthly maternal death audits.
For representational purposes (Express Illustration | Amit Bandre)
For representational purposes (Express Illustration | Amit Bandre)

TIRUNELVELI:  "Administrators like District Collectors and Project Director of National Health Mission asking why maternal deaths took place is beyond their departmental scope of knowledge. They can be present during maternal death audits, but can't do anything more than point out administrative lapses if any," said a team of doctors led by Tamil Nadu Government Doctors Association (TNGDA) district secretary Dr Mohamed Rafi during a protest at Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital (TvMCH) on Monday.

They took out the protest demanding the state government to suspend the Madurai Corporation Health Officer (CHO), conduct a single maternity death audit instead of six different audits, and fill doctor vacancies. They blamed the CHO for allegedly conducting an inspection at Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH) without permission following a maternal death that took place on September 29, and Madurai Collector M S Sangeetha for recommending suspension of a GRH doctor for allegedly forging medical case records pertaining to two maternal deaths.

"Deans of medical college hospitals also take part in the monthly maternal death audits. However, they just discuss medicine availability and question staff as to why tests like CT scans were not taken.  They do not ask why a particular drug was administered to a patient as asking so is beyond their knowledge. Likewise, administrators like collectors, and project director should only concern themselves with administrative issues," said Rafi and the protesting doctors.

They further said that the administrators cannot also ask why a drug was administered and surgery was performed on a patient. "Administrators asking why maternal deaths took place is beyond their departmental scope of knowledge," the doctors added. Since a portion of doctors took part in the protests, postgraduate medicos with the assistance of house surgeons treated patients at outpatient wards in a few departments. Rafi said the doctors would stop performing elective surgeries from October 16 onwards if their demands were not fulfilled.

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