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Saswat Singhdeo

Bhubaneswar: After videos of using unproven therapies for treatment went viral on social media, Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (VIMSAR) director, Ashwini Pujahari, today withdrew from surgical practice at the institute.

In a letter to the Head of the department, Surgery, Pujahari wrote "I had taken permission from DMET, Odisha and you put me as Unit I in-charge Surgery, VIMSAR. Now I will not be able to do the same responsibility from today onwards." (sic)

"If they think that I am responsible for disruption in healthcare services then its better, I should resign as Surgeon," Pujahari said.

A video showing Pujahari using edible salt on a patient during surgery went viral on social media, recently. The junior doctors’ association (JDA) of VIMSAR, who are now on cease-work, had demanded immediate removal of Pujahari for such unproven treatment which allegedly led to the death of the patient.

The JDA alleged that Pujahari used table salt to treat a cancer patient who subsequently died. The JDA has also filed a police complaint against Pujahari.

Not only salt therapy, another video of Pujahari violently patting on back of a patient, similar to that of playing a tabla, is also doing rounds on social media.

Later in the day, Odisha Health department commissioner-cum-secretary, Pramod Meherda served a show-cause notice to Pujahari on allegations levelled against the latter. The secretary has given 3 days notice to Pujahari to submit reply on the findings of the inquiry committee constituted to investigate the allegations.

Moreover, Pujahari has been asked to proceed on leave till his reply to the show-cause notice is received and disposed by the government.

"I respect the show-cause notice and will furnish my reply," said Pujahari.

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