MUMBAI: The state-run JJ Hospital in Mumbai, which sees a heavy footfall of citizens availing free treatment, is of late witnessing a rush of VIPs, especially those arrested in various cases.
With a bed capacity of more than 4,000, the hospital is perennially flooded with patients and their relatives.
However, as a government-run facility, it is also obligated to examine and treat arrested accused, ranging from small-time criminals to former ministers.
The matters only worsen when the police do not intimate the hospital authorities in time about bringing in a VIP accused, which affects the overall daily functioning due to security reasons.
In the last few months, high-profile patients such as former ministers Anil Deshmukh, Nawab Malik and Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, who have been arrested by the central agencies, were frequently brought to the hospital for check-ups.
The profile of such patients comes with a heavy baggage in terms of security.
It affects the daily functioning of the hospital, which is always crowded, a senior doctor at JJ Hospital said.
Such patients also require special attention of expert doctors, which means that these medical practitioners have to spend more time conducting routine check-ups when they could have otherwise treated common patients, who are generally from economically weaker sections and cannot afford the treatment.
However, Dr Pallavi Saple, dean of JJ Hospital said, "A proposal has been submitted to the state government to increase the staff, fill some vacant posts and designating medical officers to handle such cases. The initial discussion over the matter has been fruitful. Once we get the approval, we will get more staff and can deal with such challenges better."
According to a senior police officer, the official procedure mandates that an arrested person has to be taken to a state-run hospital for a medical check-up, and the reports of such hospitals have a high legal value.
We even need medico-legal advice of state-run hospitals like JJ Hospital when there are cases of some officials submitting inflated bills of medical treatment or if a doctor is accused of mistreating a patient, the official said.
While the other state-run hospitals in Mumbai, St George, Cama and Albless Hospital for women and children and GT Hospital are known as J J group of hospitals, the police only approach JJ Hospital.
In several cases, even judges prefer the opinion or advice and treatment from JJ Hospital over others.
If a civil servant avails treatment at a private hospital, the bills for reimbursement have to be verified by medical officers of JJ Hospital.
In such cases, civil servants, mainly senior officials, prefer to get treated at the JJ Hospital itself, another senior medical officer of the hospital said.
Interestingly, there is a dedicated hospital for police staff and officials in Mumbai, still criminals are brought to JJ Hospital for check-ups, he said.(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)