Skip to main content

Politician-babu coterie 'running' Sardar Patel-founded Ahmedabad hospital amidst Covid

By Rupa Chinai*
The determined effort of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) to run the public-charitable Chinai Maternity and Sarabhai General Hospitals to the ground and kill these institutions has surpassed all limits of irresponsibility. 
On June 22, 2020 a pregnant woman, age 28, and her two unborn babies were brought to Chinai Maternity Hospital by a 108 Ambulance service. Handling pregnancy related emergencies such as eclampsia (a common complication of pregnancy) is a routine part of the services offered in a maternity hospital. Junior MBBS doctors who are running the emergency services directed the patient to another hospital and both the woman and her unborn babies died before they could get help.
Around the same time, in another similar incident the AMC turned upon the Trust run 300 bed Rajasthan Hospital in Ahmedabad and fined them Rs 77 lakh for the alleged death of a Covid patient due to denial of treatment at the hospital.
The question we have to ask the AMC Commissioner is why should he not be paying a penalty for what he and the Corporation is doing to patients at Vadilal Sarabhai Hospital (VSH) when the circumstances of denial of services are exactly similar?
We also ask the AMC Commissioner and its representatives on the VSH Board where have the permanent and experienced staff employed by the VSH Board of Management gone? Who authorised their transfer out of the hospital and who permitted the closure of specialist services at these institutions? None of these been passed by the VSH Board and neither has it permitted the contracted junior doctors to take charge of services.
When the Gujarat High Court recently asked the AMC to open services at VSH for Covid patients, the AMC stand was that facilities here are needed for non-Covid patients. However, to date there has been no attempt to fulfill that commitment and thus should not the Commissioner be held in contempt of Court for abdication of responsibility in the time of acute crisis?
It is such irresponsible actions arbitrarily taken by the AMC Commissioner and AMC representatives on the VSH Board, that has brought disrepute to these venerable institutions, established in 1930 by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. It is causing us, the donor family representatives on the VSH Board to hang our heads in shame and helplesness.
Since 2012 the VSH and its independent Board of Management* have been held to ransom and undermined by a coterie connected to the AMC-Medical Education Trust (MET – politicians, bureaucrats and persons connected to the ruling party). They have lost no opportunity to bypass the functioning of the independent Board of Management, while successive AMC corporations and the Board Chairpersons have been mute witnesses or played a partisan role.
During the time of Covid crisis, one notes with dismay that AMC is making no attempt to reopen and augment 1,155 beds at VSH
Reports in Ahmedabad’s Gujarati press of July 21, 2020 have highlighted the move towards contractual appointments being made at VSH. Our consistent stand has been that all permanent staff appointed by the VSH Board of Management, who have been illegally transferred to other institutions, must be reinstated at their earlier posts in VSH.
Secondly, AMC-MET must have no role in appointing staff or interfering in any other administration matter, as this falls is the sole jurisdiction of the VSH Board of Management. We believe that underpaid contractual employees adversely affect the morale of our health staff and efficiency of the hospital’s functioning. Our 90 years of partnering with our permanent staff at all levels has demonstrated a sense of belonging, ownership and service that contributed to the golden years of VSH’s reputation.
Over the past nine years we have repeatedly pointed to the scams and administration chaos being perpetuated at the behest of AMC-MET and its appointees at the VSH. This includes the mismanagement of the employees Provident Fund resulting in Rs.8 crore penalty by the Provident Fund Commissioner, where the Board is being asked to take a loan towards its payment, leading to further misutilisation of public money.
Another instance of obfuscation of accountability is the appointment of private auditors who never provide accounts to the Board but the latter is repeatedly asked to clear it. This despite half the Board, composed of its independent members, opposing the appointment of private agencies and demanding that accounts be handled by AMC auditors, as done previously.
The duplicate patient receipt book scam, the fake injection scandal are some other incidents, representing only a tip of the corruption iceberg. These instances are not mere allegations but acknowledged facts in Board room discussions, but with no follow up action on stemming the rot and milking dry of public institutions.
During this time of the Covid crisis, one notes with dismay that the AMC is making no attempt to reopen and augment the 1,155 beds at VSH. We are at a loss to understand AMC resistance to this plea repeatedly made by us and backed by the Gujarat High Court. That too, when it is well recognised that increased access to oxygen connected hospital beds is the only means available in bringing down the Covid death toll.
---
*On behalf of Brijesh Chinai, Jay Sheth, Dr. Nishith Shah, board members, Chinai Maternity, Sarabhai General Hospitals, Ahmedabad

Comments

Sharad Shah said…
Sad to see a great institution getting such stepmotherly treatment.

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

BSF should take full responsibility for death of 4 kids in West Bengal: Rights defender

By Kirity Roy*  One is deeply disturbed and appalled by the callous trench-digging by BSF in Chetnagachh village under Daspara Gram Panchayat, Chopra, North Dinajpur District, West Bengal that has claimed the lives of four children. Along the entire stretch of Indo-Bangladesh border of West Bengal instead of guarding the actual border delineated by the international border pillars, BSF builds fences and digs trenches well inside the Indian territory, passing through villages and encroaching on private lands, often without due clearance or consent. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

How GMOs would destroy non-GMO crops: Aruna Rodrigues' key submissions in SC

Counterview Desk The introduction of Bt and HT crops will harm the health of 1 billion Indians and their animals, believes Aruna Rodrigues, who has made some 60 submissions to the Supreme Court (SC) during the last 20 years. As lead petitioner who filed Public Interest Litigation in 2005, during a spate of intense hearings, which ended on 18 January 2024, she fought in the Apex Court to prevent the commercialization of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Indian agriculture. 

Social justice day amidst 'official neglect' of salt pan workers in Little Rann of Kutch

By Prerana Pamkar*  In India’s struggle for Independence, the Salt Satyagraha stands as a landmark movement and a powerful symbol of nonviolent resistance. Led by Mahatma Gandhi, countless determined citizens walked from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi in Gujarat. However, the Gujarat which witnessed the power of the common Indian during the freedom struggle is now in the throes of another significant movement: this time it is seeking to free salt pan workers from untenable working conditions in the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK).

Corporatizing Indian agriculture 'to enhance' farmer efficiency, market competitiveness

By Shashank Shukla*  Today, amidst the ongoing farmers' protest, one of the key demands raised is for India to withdraw from the World Trade Organization (WTO). Let us delve into the feasibility of such a move and explore its historical context within India's globalization trajectory.

Jallianwala massacre: Why Indian govt hasn't ever officially sought apology from UK

By Manjari Chatterjee Miller*  The king of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, apologized in July 2023 for his ancestors’ role in the colonial slave trade. He is not alone in expressing remorse for past wrongs. In 2021, France returned 26 works of art seized by French colonial soldiers in Africa – the largest restitution France has ever made to a former colony. In the same year, Germany officially apologized for its 1904-08 genocide of the Herero and Nama people of Namibia and agreed to fund reconstruction and development projects in Namibia. .

Interpreting UAPA bail provisions: Is Supreme Court setting the clock back?

By Kavita Srivastava*, Dr V Suresh** The Supreme Court in its ruling on 7th February, 2024 in   `Gurvinder Singh v State of Punjab’ held that its own well-developed jurisprudence that "Bail is the rule and jail the exception" will not apply to those charged under the UAPA.

A 'distorted narrative' of Indian politics: Congress failing to look beyond LS polls

By Prem Singh*  About 15 days ago, I told a senior journalist friend that there are not even two   months left for the Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi is roaming around on a delectation (tafreeh). The friend probably found my comment exasperating and replied that he is not on a delectation trip. The conversation between us on this topic ended there. 

Livelihood issues return to national agenda ahead of LS polls: SKM on Bharat Bandh

Counterview Desk  Top farmers' network, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) has claimed big success of Grameen Bharat Bandh and industrial /sectoral strikes, stating, the “struggle reflected anger of farmers, workers and rural people across India”, adding, the move on February 16 succeeded in bringing back peoples’ livelihood issues in the national agenda just ahead of the general election to the Lok Sabha.