Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru
Mangaluru, May 14: Superintendent of Lady Goschen Hospital Dr Shakunthala, who was transferred back to Wenlock Hospital on May 9 for medical negligence following the death of Poovakka of Sullia, has failed to relinquish her charge at the Lady Goschen Hospital. She continues to be the superintendent at the Lady Goschen Hospital even after 5 days of her transfer by the health ministry. This has naturally given rise to widespread speculation that her transfer was only an eyewash to wriggle out of the situation arising out of the protest staged by the family of a young Poovakka in front of the Lady Goschen Hospital after her death at the hospital.
Further the involvement of Human Right Federation members in organising a protest involving the staff of Lady Goschen Hospital including nurses demanding her reinstatement and Dr Shakunthala’s refusal to comply with the transfer also give rise to many unanswered questions. According to some sources, it is believed that her transfer was imminent for various reasons for quite some time now and the death of Poovakka only hastened it. Minister for health and family welfare U T Khadar when contacted pointed out "the ministry has taken note of a couple of deaths in the last few months at the Lady Goschen Hospital including the death of Poovakka. We cannot keep quiet in such instances and she being the Superintendent is responsible for the lacunae."
When daijiworld contacted Dr Shakunthala on why she has not complied with the transfer orders even after five days she said "since the department has ordered an inquiry to look into the circumstances of the death of Poovakka I have to be present in Lady Goschen Hospital. I had to submit necessary documents to the members when they came for inquiry". This argument sounds feeble because whatever might be the circumstances leading to the death of Poovakka Shakunthala’s continued presence in Lady Goschen is unethical as it gives her an opportunity to manipulate the lacunae if any leading to the death of Poovakka.
Further she pointed out that contrary to reports appearing in a section of the media she was not demoted. "I am on deputation from Wenlock Hospital to Lady Goschen Hospital for the last 6 to 7 years and after the recent incident I have been sent back to the Wenlock Hospital. Since the inquiry commission has submitted its report yesterday the action taken by the department will be known to me by tomorrow". But she is not sure whether she will join for duty at the Wenlock Hospital today, that is Thursday May 14.
The three member inquiry commission comprising Dr Bharathi Nirmal, Dr Suresh, a representative of the director of Health and Family Welfare, Bengaluru, and Dr Shantharam Baliga, conducted the inquiry yesterday, that is Wednesday May 13. Dr Shantharam Baliga said the inquiry commission was appointed at the behest of the health minister. The inquiry commission has been asked to submit its findings including the circumstances leading to the death of Poovakka and the measures to be taken to prevent such incidents in future and improve health care facilities to the people has been submitted to the director of Health, Bengaluru through its representative Dr Suresh.
An interesting aspect of this sordid saga is the involvement of Human Right Federation of India which not only opposed the transfer of Dr Shakunthala but also organised a protest by rallying around hospital staff demanding Dr Shakunthala’s reinstatement. One would have expected Human Rights Federation to express its solidarity with the family of the dead person, whoever might be at fault. On the contrary, on the very day of her transfer Human Rights Federation played a proactive role in mobilising the staff of Lady Goschen Hospital in staging a protest.
Haneef Saheb Pajepalla, president of the Justice and complaint committee of Human Rights Federation of India who was full of zip in staging the protest, minces no words to give a clean chit to Dr Shakunthala. One fails to understand the role of Human Right Federation in transferring Dr Shakunthala back to the parent organisation the Wenlock Hospital. It is also necessary to know in what way her transfer violates basic human rights. Haneef Saheb failed to give a convincing reply when asked what was the urgency or the necessity to rally the staff around demanding her reinstatement when an inquiry commission was set up for the purpose and is asked to give its findings.
When asked why she still continues to be the superintendent U T Khadar said the ministry is yet to appoint someone in her place. In fact her transfer order clearly says that Shakunthala has to hand over the charge to the seniormost person. However, the second in charge is said to be a confidante of Dr Shakunthala and hence there is no unanimity in handing over the charge to her. The other seniormost is gynaecologist Dr Poornima and Dr Shakunthala is in no mood to hand over the charge to her. Surprisingly reliable sources say that Dr Shakunthala has almost begged everyone including minister U T Khadar to retain her at the Lady Goschen Hospital till the inauguration of the new building so that her name appears in the name plaque.