New Delhi (PTI): The reasons behind inviting a private doctor to conduct cardiac surgery on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at AIIMS -- which has the facilities and expertise to do it -- should be disclosed under RTI, the CIC has directed.
An RTI applicant, Jagdish Chander Jetli, sought details about the rules and reasons of AIIMS under which Dr Ramakant Panda and his team from Asian Heart Institute, Mumbai was asked to carry out the surgery at the Institute.
Singh, 76, underwent a re-do coronary artery bypass surgery at AIIMS on January 24 this year.
Jetli claimed that the response by AIIMS to his application was "vague and evasive" prompting him to move an appeal in the Central Information Commission. After hearing the arguments of both sides, Information Commissioner Annapurna Dixit held,"...how the decision to invite Dr Panda to conduct surgery was arrived at and for what reasons and also (the appellant should) be provided with minutes of any meeting in this connection, available with AIIMS by June 20."
New Delhi: Ramakant Panda, the private doctor who conducted a cardiac operation on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in January, said Thursday the second bypass surgery "on beating heart is more complex" on which "very few surgeons have consistent good results".
Panda was reacting to the Central Information Commission (CIC) asking All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to explain the reasons why a private doctor conducted cardiac surgery on the prime minister.
"Contrary to opinion, redo (second) bypass surgery is a far more complex operation than first bypass. Redo bypass on beating heart is still more complex and there are very few surgeons in the world who have consistent good results," Panda said in an statement.
An RTI applicant, Jagdish Chander Jetli, had sought details about the rules and reasons of AIIMS under which Panda and his team from the Asian Heart Institute, Mumbai was asked to carry out the surgery at the premier medical institute.
Manmohan Singh underwent a coronary bypass surgery Jan 24 to remove five arterial blockages. He was operated upon at AIIMS by an 11-member panel of doctors led by Panda. The prime minister was discharged from hospital Feb 1.
Jetli had contended before the CIC that calling a private doctor to conduct the operation at the premier institute, "staffed by the best doctors in the country and (equipped) with the best of medical facilities, has eroded the reputation of AIIMS".
Panda said that by getting operated in AIIMS, the prime minister has sent a message that our public hospitals are very good and has acknowledged both private expertise and public facilities in full measure.
MUMBAI: In a landmark order, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) to provide information about the minutes of the meeting which had details of how the institute had decided to invite a team of doctors, led by Dr Ramakant Panda of Asian Heart Institute, to conduct PM Manmohan Singh's bypass surgery
early this year.
The chief public information officer (CPIO) of AIIMS had earlier stonewalled the information after Jagdish Chander Jetli had filed an RTI query. Jetli had also sought details of AIIMS rules under which private institutes or outsiders can conduct surgery at the institute. It raised points like the reasons for this procedure and if AIIMS did not have the expertise for such a surgery. "Who in the AIIMS took this decision to call a team and what were the specific reasons?'' was one of the key questions.
The CPIO replied that these details were not available in AIIMS's records and it is not possible to provide the same. "There is no specific rule for AIIMS which mentions this issue explicitly. Involvement of an expert surgeon/team in the surgical procedure of a patient is not prohibited. The director of AIIMS is the CEO of the institute and is competent to take any administrative decision in the interest of patient care services,'' the CPIO said.
Not satisfied with the reply, Jetli filed a first appeal with the apellate authority and when he did not get any reply, he filed a complaint with the SIC. When the case came up for hearing, Jetli contented that the public has a right to know why an institute such as the AIIMS, which has the best doctors in the country and with the best of medical facilities, had to invite a doctor from outside to conduct the operation on its premises. Jetli argued that that this is a matter of great concern to the public and that inviting a doctor from another institute has eroded the reputation of AIIMS.
The SIC ordered that keeping the peculiar facts of the case in mind and in the light of the fact that Dr Panda had used the facilities belonging to AIIMS, which is a public authority, the commission directs the CPIO to obtain the relevant information from the Asian Heart Institute regarding particulars of Dr Panda and to provide the same to the appellant.
In her order, central information commissioner, Annapurna Dixit, said the appellant should be informed about how the decision to invite Dr Panda to conduct the surgery was arrived at and for what reasons. "The CPIO has to provide the minutes of meetings in this connection, available with the AIIMS,'' the order stated.