NEIGRIHMS Director quits

From C K Nayak

NEW DELHI: The Director of NEIGRIHMS, Prof ( Dr ) DM Thappa, has relinquished office following an order of the central government which has asked him to return to his parent institute Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research (JIPMER) in Puducherry.
Thappa has handed over charge to the seniormost Professor and Head of the Anaesthesia department, P Bhattacharjee, sources said.
The 13th Governing Council of NEIGRIHMs had ordered his removal in October last year following serious allegations and a series of agitations in the premier hospital of the region. But he hung on in the absence of a formal notification from the Centre which finally came late on Saturday.
The Council had met at New Delhi on October 14 under the chairmanship of Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Harsh Vardhan, and unanimously decided to remove Thappa whose strained relation with senior doctors was said to have vitiated the work atmosphere. The Council was prompted to remove him since there were a number of charges of mismanagement against him, including not calling a single meeting of the Council in the past several years.
Incidentally, the Governing Council meeting was attended by Meghalaya Minister for Health and Family Welfare A L Hek  and   Thappa  himself . But when the agenda of ratification of his appointment as Director came up, he was asked to leave since the matter concerned him. After the meeting, Thappa was called by the Union Minister and told about the decision of the Council dispensing with his services, the sources said.  But in the absence of any notification he continued till date. The Khasi Students Union (KSU) had demanded Thappa’s immediate removal following the death of a female patient due to alleged negligence.  Even his office was locked following the incident and police had to break it open.
The latest incident came amid a row between Thappa and the head of the Cardiology department, Animesh Mishra. Many doctors have resigned in the past allegedly due to high-handedness of the Director.
The Meghalaya High Court had also directed the NEIGRIHMS Cardiology department to file an affidavit on the circumstances that led to the woman’s death. The high court had directed the state’s then  chief secretary to depute an additional chief secretary to head a meeting to come up with a durable  solution.

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