Pradeep Pattanayak

Odisha government’s tall claims of providing free healthcare facilities have once again proved hollow when an Orthopaedic doctor at the Koenjhar district headquarters hospital (DHH) allegedly demanded Rs 40,000 from a tribal and poor family for surgery. 

According to a source, Soudamini Munda of Medinipur area under Ghatagaon block in Keonjhar district had brought her four-year-old daughter to the DHH. Her daughter had six fingers on one hand. She took her daughter to the DHH to get the sixth finger operated. 
She alleged that the doctor on duty at the Orthopaedic department demanded Rs 40,000 for the operation. 

“The child had six fingers on one hand. We had brought her to the hospital to get the extra finger operated out. The doctor told us that the operation is possible, but it will be done in a private clinic.  Such an operation was not possible in the government hospital. For this, he demanded Rs 40,000. Yesterday, he asked us to deposit the money immediately. How can we arrange that much money? If we had that much money should we have visited the government hospital?” said Gurubari Munda, a relative of the patient. 

As the news spread, the members of the Keonjhar district bar association came to the family's rescue. They took the matter up with the Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) and demanded action against the unscrupulous doctor. 

When contacted, CDMO, Dr. Kishore Prusty said, “I have discussed with the concerned doctor. He admitted that what he had done was wrong. We will try to conduct the operation at the DHH.”

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