Rebuttal from HoD Anesthesiology (NEIGRIHMS)

Apropos the letter by an anonymous writer captioned “NEIGRIHMS: The Inside Story (ST Nov 2, 2019) it must be stated that the “Senior most faculty” did not appoint himself as Acting Director – but was appointed by the MOHFW, the authority overseeing the functioning of the Institute. The Acting Director went to the Office only after 2 pm (having taken care of his clinical responsibilities – and also responded to emergency calls even in the night hours!) and worked till 6 pm – 7 pm. Hence the ignorant “Anonymous Writer” is incorrect to say that the Acting Director “neglected his primary duty as anesthetist”.
The Academic Syllabus in this Academic Institute (with parallel service obligations) of the Academic Department of Anesthesiology includes (1) Anesthesia (2) Critical Care (3) Pain Medicine (our Ortho HOD appreciates the services to the extent that he even sends his own father to our Pain Clinic for treatment)(4) Palliative Care.
The Question Papers for MD Anesthesiology includes a huge segment of MARKS with the segments 2,3 and 4 cornering more than 50% of the share. The writer has no idea regarding the primary duty of the HoD of an Academic Department in an Institute of Excellence.
The term “Chief” Vigilance Officer is only a clerical error that crept into a few communications due to the oft-used address by some people/offices (who presumed the designation used in some PSUs) in their letters addressed to the Vigilance Officer and the error being unnoticed for some communications. The “perceptive” writer has no instance to quote regarding any unwarranted action taken by this “watch dog” – which speaks volumes regarding the integrity of this watch dog.
The “de-recognition” of the MD Degree in Anesthesiology is the direct result of the previous Director’s “popularity-seeking” steps of approving the eligibility of “non-eligible” faculty to appear for higher posts – in direct contravention of Medical Council of India norms. This has resulted in the MCI not recognizing one of our Associate Professors and designating that Associate Professor as only Assistant Professor. Since the Specialty of Anesthesia Mandates TWO RECOGNIZED Associate Professors, (and the approved faculty strength – as far as MCI norms are considered – has only one – NOT TWO RECOGNIZED Associate Professors), the Department of Anesthesiology has been starved of the “critical” Associate Professor post – and the MD degree has not been derecognized due to less number of Anesthesia cases. The total number of cases given anesthesia in NEIGRIHMS is enough for MD Anesthesiology.
The Five (Permanent) Faculty cannot be remotely expected to provide adequate number of Operating Lists (AS PER MCI NORMS) – and providing 24 X 7 Emergency OT services – while conducting the requisite number of PG Classes, carrying out research (both as Post Graduate guides as well as for Projects of their own – essential/ mandatory for promotion – which they too deserve), study time for preparing for their PG classes, and to participate in CORPORATE ACTIVITIES (which are again integral to their APAR Evaluations). It was only with the Director fighting the obstructionist approach of his own Administration – that we have been able to obtain the services of two ad hoc Faculty – solely to prevent collapse of our Emergency Services!
Regarding the allegation of serious lacunae in OT hours,” our OT utilization time mostly is more than 100 %.
The testimony to the Excellence of the Critical Care Unit of NEIGRIHMS is evident in the fact that our ICU is not in the habit of referring serious patients to “superior ICUs” OUTSIDE / in Metropolitan cities. The Armed Forces (with their own referral hospitals) make our ICU the destination of choice. Patients from Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Assam, Tripura are referred from their hospitals (though for many of them Guwahati is nearer). We never refer patients to other hospitals unless they are in a position to offer better care (hugely unlikely) – this is evident from our record. Even doctors in Shillong feel confident of wanting to fly in their own relatives from far away places to our ICU while on life support! It is expected to be the mission of this place to set up facilities with standards of excellence so that patients of this area are not doomed – especially the poor ones – to die due to lack of care when they are seriously ill. That this service is being run without detracting from the rest of the services is evident that:

  1. Only one faculty is allocated to the 24 X 7 ICU service – a facility that is appreciated by all.
  2. Only one Senior Resident works 24 hours in the ICU – a clear violation of labour laws.
  3. No separate Faculty Posting has been made in Pain Clinic nor in Palliative Care Unit – no denial of OT list on this ground has EVER BEEN MADE. However, MCI norms mandate a Pain Clinic. Palliative Care is now being established as a Service in ALL AIIMs. The MoHFW has instructed all States to establish Palliative Care Services in their hospitals.
  4. The many successful complex surgeries being performed in our Operation Theatres would not have been possible without the back up of excellent ICU Services.
    The HOD Anesthesiology being alluded to is also qualified in all of the above and is an Examiner in all of the above for both Post Graduate as well as Post Doctoral Courses in our Country.
    Yours etc.,
    Prithwis Bhattacharyya,
    HOD Anesthesiology.
    NEIGRIHMS, Shillong

NEIGRIHMS Rejoinder -2

Administration is in receipt of a letter from Executive Engineer (Civil) in regard to the news item, “NEIGRIHMS: The Inside Story” which appeared in The Shillong Times dated 2nd November 2019. The Executive Engineer (Civil) has negated the allegations of the anonymous writer regarding the bad performance of the Engineering Section of the Institute. Citing the example of the Kaya Kalp Awards won by the Institute consecutively for last three years, the Officer informs the stakeholders and the public of North East that upkeep and maintenance of the Hospital is one of the assessment criteria of the Kaya Kalp Awards. If the performance of the Engineering Section of the Institute was not good then winning of Awards would not be possible for the Hospital. As far as construction works/maintenance works are concerned the Engineering Department is the only Department in the Institute with one regular technical staff besides handling the related matters of the ongoing project of such a stature and a budget of 6.35 crore for 2019-20. It is further clarified that the post of Estate Officer which is a sanctioned post has been given charge to the present incumbent since 2006. Despite the fact that regularisation as Executive Engineer (Civil) for over 5 years is not considered by the concerned authorities and she being the only regular technical staff in the section, almost all works are completed in a time bound manner.
Yours etc.,
K Pandita,

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