Srinagar: The SKIMS Medical College Bemina has terminated the services of a junior resident doctor Asif Ali Bhat after he demanded standard personal protection equipment (PPE).
In a letter to President Doctors Association of Kashmir (DAK), Dr. Asif Ali Bhat said that despite the non-availability of standard PPE, he continued to discharge his duty in the COVID ward without taking into consideration the risk of acquiring this fatal infection.
“Despite repeated verbal and documented requests to administration, the doctors were not provided with standard PPEs. That on 17-04-20 after finishing my uninterrupted duty in COVID ward with substandard PPE, I asked the in-charge Stores Dr. Imtiyaz Ahmad, Consultant Ophthalmology, to issue standard PPE. The said doctor responded in a harsh way which resulted in an argument,” he said in a letter.
Dr. Asif noted following the argument, he was repeatedly harassed and threatened. “That I will be terminated and sent behind the bars along with my family and subsequently relieving order was issued against me on 20-04-20,” he said.
On April 20, SKIMS Medical College, Bemina terminated him from the services. “Dr. Asif Ali Bhat (Code No JR-1166) Junior Resident Department of Accident and Emergency is hereby relieved from this institution,” read the termination letter.
In a statement issued by Jammu and Kashmir Doctors Coordination Committee (JKDCC), an amalgam of various doctors’ bodies of the Union Territory has expressed serious concern over unwarranted termination of the doctor.
“It is a black spot on the administrative affairs of the medical college during such pandemic which has crushed and collapsed the world. Demanding PPE kit is not a crime, but a fundamental right of health worker. Arranging it is the responsibility of authorities,” said Dr. Mohammad Yousuf Tak, Convenor JKDCC said in the statement.
President Doctors Association of Kashmir Dr Suhail Naik told The Kashmir Monitor, this move is aimed to cover up the administration’s failures.
“Asking for standard PPEs is our fundamental right and we should not be deprived of that. When the morale of the doctors, who are at the forefront of fighting the pandemic, should be boosted, the administration is coming up with such harsh measures.” Dr. Suhail said.
DAK President said one of their doctors had tested positive at Government Medical College Baramulla thereby risking his life and his family.
Director SKIMS Dr AG Ahanger expressed ignorance over the termination of doctor.
“I have absolutely no idea about the termination of the doctor at SKIMS, Bemina”, he said.