Kupwara doctor terminated on 'questionable' inquiry report

In a strange development in the case of a newborn’s death in Kupwara, a medical officer working at primary health center (PHC) Kalaroos has been terminated on the basis of a “questionable” inquiry report. The committee members have washed their hands off the report stating “no inquiry was conducted at all”.

On Wednesday, district development commissioner (DDC), Kupwara, AnshulGarg, issued orders of termination of Dr Bilal Ahmed, medical officer under National Health Mission (NHM), posted at KalaroosKupwara “as recommended by the chief medical officer (CMO) Kupwara on 17 April 2018 on the basis of gross negligence and failure to deliver professional services towards patient care as authenticated by the enquiry committee”.

The termination order quoting CMO Kupwara and enquiry report states, “The doctor has failed to uphold moral, ethical and professional standards in the service delivery which led to the death of the newborn baby”. However, the authenticity of the report submitted by the two member committee has come under cloud with its members distancing themselves from the “findings of the report”.

As per a communication signed by the two members and submitted to CMO on 16 April 2019, the report was “only intended to pacify public anger”.

“The inquiry committee as such will not be having any relation to it and strongly recommends a systematic in-depth inquiry that is unbiased,” the communication signed by the members states.

One of the committee members, Dr Farooq Ahmed Khan, while speaking to Greater Kashmir said, “The CMO was very well aware of the fact that we did not carry out any inquiry into the matter and the document was produced to quell anger surrounding the incident.”

He expressed shock over the development that the report has been submitted to the DDC Kupwara for action and the doctor has been terminated on its basis.

“It is pathetic how the CMO chose to hide the facts. We have confessed before the public and everyone that no inquiry was conducted by us,” he said.

The doctor said the patient, Fatima Begum, who had been referred from PHC Kalaroos to sub-district Kupwara was admitted at Kupwara when the report was “prepared in CMO office”.

Begum had a miscarriage in a taxi while travelling from Kalaroos to Kupwara allegedly after being denied an ambulance by the doctor who now stands terminated.

DDC Kupwara, AnshulGarg said that action against the doctor was taken on the basis of the report submitted by the CMO Kupwara. He denied having seen the “retraction statement” of the committee members.

“I am not aware of any such document,” he said.

Director health services Kashmir, DrKunzes Dolma said that she had seen “this new contradictory document” on the social media.  “If the CMO sends this document to me, I will definitely ask why this situation has arisen,” she said.

She added the development was a “unique one” and the veracity of facts was being ascertained. “We have never had a situation where the committee and the administrator concerned have acted in such irresponsible way,” she said.

CMO Kupwara, DrPrehlad Singh did not respond to multiple calls and texts from Greater Kashmir.