Patients at the gynaecology section of the sub district hospital Tral here on Sunday faced difficult situation when they found the lone specialist doctor at the facility had left the office for his private clinic.
Sources said, Dr Shan-e-Aalam, gynaecologist had abandoned his office to practice at his private clinic outside the SDH Tral during duty hours.
Many patients and their attendants called Greater Kashmir complaining about the absence of the doctor at the hospital. When this reporter reached the hospital, there was no doctor in the gynaecology section. The patients in long queues inside the hospital corridor were anxiously waiting for doctor.
"What is the motive of having the hospital when it has no doctor especially in the emergency section? My wife is dying with pain and there is no one who can look to her. I do not have enough money to take her to a private clinic or Srinagar," said Lateef Ahmed Shaksaz of Naristan.
For the specialized treatment of his wife, Lateef had travelled 15 kms to reach Tral but here he could not found any doctor.
The patients inside the inpatient department (IPD) were high and dry waiting for the doctor. "No doctor has approached me since morning. I am in dilemma if everything is alright with me and my new born baby," said a young tribal woman.
Sources said that the doctor in flagrant violation of the rules was treating the patients at his private clinic.
A source at the hospital alleged the doctor was asking money for every surgery from the patients and compelling them to perform ultrasound, ECG and other tests from his private clinic even though the same facilities are available in the hospital.
At around 12:30 pm the doctor was found by some patients at his private clinic located outside SDH Tral. This reporter, to confirm their version, went inside his private clinic and tried to capture in camera his private practice during his duty hours, only to get manhandled by the doctor.
The doctor tried to snatch my mobile phone and grabbed my collar. The scuffle left injury marks on my hands and throat.
"I won't spare you; I have approach right from the director (health) to the Governor. Delete the content from your phone or else I will break it," the doctor threatened this reporter.
Later the doctor apologized for his behaviour, "I am sorry for my behaviour but I was thinking of meeting you today. Besides private practice the hospital has other major issues which you should report. Please delete the content from your phone and do not report this," he told this reporter.
When contacted block medical officer Tral, Bashir Ahmad Malik told Greater Kashmir over phone: "I am currently at home but I remain at the hospital 24/7 for all days except Sundays."
"Give me a second I would send another doctor who will quickly bring back the doctor from his clinic to the hospital," the BMO added.
When asked could a doctor run his private clinic at a time when he was required to be on duty at the hospital, the BMO replied: "I will investigate the matter on Monday".