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India

Punjab Health Minister Asks Top Doctor To Lie On Dirty Hospital Bed, Sparks Outrage

Upon being asked to lie on that bed, Dr Raj Bahadur lies down on it and then immediately gets up and tried to explain to the minister.

His resignation follows 3 more resignations of docs across Punjab, say they feel humiliated.
His resignation follows 3 more resignations of docs across Punjab, say they feel humiliated. (Photo Credit: Screengrab from Video)

Chandigarh: Punjab Health Minister Chetan Singh Jouramajra sparked controversy when on Friday he asked a top doctor to lie on a dirty, fungus-infested bed meant for the patients. The Health Minister asked Dr Raj Bahadur, the vice-chancellor of Baba Farid Medical University of Health Sciences, to lie on the bed, leading to a series of resignations.

Responding to the incident, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) demanded an unconditional apology and resignation from the Minister for his misbehaviour. “IMA appeals to the Chief Minister of Punjab to immediately intervene and take necessary action against the Minister immediately,” the IMA said.

Soon after the incident, pictures of Dr Raj Bahadur lying on the hospital bed quickly went viral. In the video, a crowd of supporters accompanying the minister make way for the VC to see the dirty bed himself. Upon being asked to lie on that bed, Dr Raj Bahadur lies down on it and then immediately gets up and tried to explain to the minister. However, he is cut short by Health Minister Jouramajra who tells Dr Bahadur, “Everything is in your hands.” And then the minister says, “Show me your store, I want to inspect it.”

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Hours later, Dr Bahadur submitted his resignation as the vice-chancellor of the Baba Farid Medical University. And his resignation followed a spate of resignations across the state of Punjab of top medical professionals working in government hospitals.

Rajiv Devgun, the Principal of Government Medical College, Amritsar also resigned moments after Dr Raj Bahadur’s resignation. Guru Nanak Dev Medical College Medical Superintendent KD Singh also sent in his resignation soon after. The secretary of Dr Raj Bahadur, OP Chaudhary also resigned moments after the VC’s resignation.

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Reactions from the miffed medical fraternity started coming in after the incident took place.

Chandigarh-based former vice-president of the Indian Medical Association Dr RS Bedi said, “The minister’s conduct was highly condemnable. You see, a doctor needs the whole paraphernalia with him to run a hospital, alone he can do nothing. The funds have to be in place and then the procurement has to be proper.”

“How can one blame a VC when the funds are not there? The health budget is so compromised and we are expecting amenities without increasing the budget. Is that even possible?” he asked.

The Punjab Civil Medical Services Association (PCMSA)’s Dr Akhil Sarin also strongly condemned the ill-treatment meted out to the VC by the health minister. Whatever the reason, the way the VC was ill-treated is bad, he said.

The Opposition too shared the viral video, condemning the ill-treatment of the top spinal surgeon of the region.