Rajahmundry: Vigilance and enforcement sleuths have exposed several fake doctors who are running super specialty hospitals and clinics by treating patients, doing minor surgeries, prescribing drugs, conducting lab tests, carrying out scanning of body parts and operating drugstores on their own in several parts of the state. They have been doing this undetected for several years.
The V and E authorities have come up with the astonishing facts that the fake doctors who are practicing medicine are either ‘Class X failed’ or have degrees like B.Com or B.Tech. Some of them are smart enough to use the name of a qualified doctor registered with MCI or AP Medical Council to practice medicine, by misusing his registration number.
The vigilance authorities have exposed five cases involving fake doctors in Kurnool district recently. The popularity of these fake doctors is so high that the authorities had to use decoy patients to find out details like what kind of treatment they were giving as well as the other activities which they were not supposed to do.
One B.Tech graduate identified as Narendra changed his name to Dr K. Nagendra Prasad by using the registration number of a medico who is doing his PG at Nims in Hyderabad. He set up a JP Clinic and Super Specialty hospital and claimed to have MBBS and MD degrees. He roped in his wife Jyothi, who is a B.Com graduate and claimed that she too had MBBS and DCH degrees. He also brought his brother-in-law Raghavendra, who is a B.Com graduate and said he had MBBS and MD degrees.
He allowed his brother-in-law to practice medicine at the Super Specialty hospital at Kurnool while he set up another hospital called Vijaya Gouri Children’s and Super Specialty hospital at Adoni. The couple was practicing medicine at this hospital and they used to move from one hospital to another depending upon demand for their services from the patients.
The vigilance authorities have evidence of their involvement in all unlawful practices ranging from treating patients to doing scanning at their own facilities. Upon inquiry, they found that Narendra had experience in working as an assistant at a big hospital in Arogya Sri and based on this experience he started to run the hospitals. After the exposure of these three fake doctors, the kin of deceased patients approached the police and lodged complaints. Accordingly, police exhumed four bodies and booked the doctors on charges of attempt to murder. Police arrested the three and sent them to judicial remand. Surprisingly, district medical and health authorities granted permission to sanction `1.10 crore to the hospitals run by the trio to purchase medical equipment, stating that Nagendra Prasad belonged to the SC community when he originally belonged to the BC community. In addition, the same authorities certified his hospital as an ESI referral hospital and the fake doctor claimed bills worth `33 lakh.
Similarly, Naga Sesha Reddy, who failed in Class X, has been running a clinic undetected for the last 25 years. He claims to have degrees like MBBS, IBMS and FEGE but when the vigilance sleuths questioned him to define his degrees like IBMS and FEGE, he was clueless. He was caught when he took up vaccination by distributing cards asking people to attend by charging `100 per adult and Rs 50 per child. One Sriramulu, claiming to have a BAMS degree, has set up two hospitals with each one having 25 beds at Gudur. He has no proper qualifications. Though he claims to be a specialist in Ayurveda he prescribes only allopathic medicine.
Kurnool Vigilance and enforcement SP S. Babu Rao said, “Based on the feedback from people, we have sent decoy patients to the doctors to find out how they treat. As the doctors even started lab tests and scanning on their own, we got suspicious and on inquiry, we found that none of them had any academic qualifications. We have booked criminal cases against them. We will continue to carry out our raids on health centres and expose fake doctors.”
No time to curb unlawaful acts
Preoccupation with priority tasks and graft are said to be the prime reasons among the law enforcing authorities for failing to curb the unlawful practices being carried out by fake doctors.
Though the district medical and health authorities are supposed to keep tabs on hospitals on a regular basis to ensure that the patients get proper treatment, they hardly do so unless something goes wrong at a hospital. The managements of the private hospitals have to grease the palms of the authorities at the DMHO office to ensure that the regular and mandatory inspection takes place and even if any violations are found with regard to providing treatment for the patients, they are hushed up.
West Godavari district medical and health officer Dr Subram-anyeswari said, “We usually get preoccupied with a lot of priority issues in our day-to-day functioning like implementing several health schemes and programmes being initiated by the government. People also should be cautious about the doctors they intend to consult to get treatment. We appeal to the people to alert us in case they develop any suspicion of doctors practicing medicine so that we can start an inquiry and take the culprits to task as per law.”
Drugs Control administration authorities are also equally responsible for fake doctors running drugstores in their clinics for several years, undetected. Though some officials do get to know about such illegal practices, they overlook them by accepting bribes....