Amid COVID-19 lockdown, doctors adamantly looting patients

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SRINAGAR — As authorities have directed doctors working in government hospitals to refrain from conducting normal surgeries due to the situation arising out of COVID-19 pandemic, majority of the doctors are taking advantage of the situation by conducting surgeries in their private clinics and private nursing homes.

“You don’t do normal surgery in a government hospital just to contain the spread of COVID-19 infection, but what about private clinics, are they immune to such infection,” said a medico.

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Sources said that government directives, asking not to conduct normal surgeries of patients in the hospitals, have proved a gold mine for some voracious doctors and the owners of private clinics.

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Doctors can be seen advising patients to visit their private clinics where they charge hefty sums from them and conduct normal surgeries. “Scores of patients visit on daily basis at a private nursing home on Srinagar-Baramulla highway. The doctors there, who also work in government hospitals, conduct surgeries. The same doctors refuse to conduct any surgery in the government hospitals,” sources said.

For normal surgery of gall bladder, a patient is charged Rs. 20,000 to 30,000. The same surgery costs nothing in government hospitals. These doctors are misusing the government order and treating the patients at private clinics.

“Government issued the order in public interest so that spread of COVID-19 infection can be contained, but these doctors misused this order and forced patients to visit their private clinics. This practice is still going on under the nose of the government,” said a Surgeon.

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Majority of the doctors are using this pandemic for their personal gains. “In every nook and cranny, doctors in private nursing homes are minting money from patients. The surgeries, they can conduct in the government hospitals, are being done at private clinics. The fault lies with the Directorate of Health Services Kashmir, which despite knowing the facts, is acting as a mute spectator,” a medico said, on the condition of anonymity.

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