Officials probing the sale of expired surgical equipment and consumables in SKIMS Soura have come under the scanner for delaying the investigation and favouring accused employees.
The two-member expert panel appointed by Director SKIMS following a complaint has failed to submit the report despite a month has passed.
The panel comprises of Assistant Professor Hospital Administration, Dr Haroon Rashid and Associate Professor in the Department of General Surgery, Dr Rauf A Wani. The inquiry was order following a written complaint by Head Department of Gastroenterology about the sale of expired equipment at the medical institute’s drug counter.
However, as per official sources, the panel is yet to fix the responsibility of the corruption and medical negligence and seize the records.
“As per the procedure, the inquiry panel has to seize the necessary records of the purchases and supply from the accused officials. But, unfortunately, they have not followed the process instead allowed the accused officials to fiddle with the records to suit them,” they said.
A senior official, privy to the development, told Rising Kashmir that the probe panel had sought the explanation from the Chief Pharmacist only while other officials, who were in-charge of the store and drug counter, were left scot-free.
“The probe panel has come under the influence of administration. The concerned Faculty In-charge of Drug and Pharmacy Services is coercing the panel which has delayed the investigation,” he said.
Official documents, in possession of Rising Kashmir, have indicated the senior officers in the administration including Medical Superintendent and Deputy Medical Superintendent in the case of expired equipment and consumables.
As per the documents the higher-ups had ignored the repeated alerts by the Chief Pharmacist about the presence of expired and nearly expired Esophageal Variceal Band (VU Max).
“The administration was aware of the presence of expired equipment in the pharmacy as Chief pharmacist had informed them about it well in time. However, they ignored the alerts and allowed the sale of VU Max bands at the Pharmacy Drug Counter,” officials said, quoting the documents.
Ironically, the expired stock was supplied to the Drug sales counter of SKIMS by the concerned store keeper in the absence of Chief Pharmacist, as per sources.
“Everything was happening in the presence of the administration as the Medical Superintendent had appointed a Senior Resident as In-charge of Drug and Pharmacy for almost three months when the Chief Pharmacist was on leave. And it gives unscrupulous employees to indulge in wrong- doing,” said a pharmacist.
EVB is commonly used to treat immediate (acute) variceal bleeding. It may also be used to prevent recurrent episodes of variceal bleeding, which are common. During a procedure called variceal banding, a doctor uses an endoscope to place an elastic ring that looks like a rubber band around an enlarged vein.
HoD Gastroenterology, Dr GN Yatoo had complained that over 600 expired pieces of EVB are lying in the SKIMS Pharmacy. On March 18, the HoD brought the matter into the notice of the SKIMS Medical Superintendent with the request to withdraw the expired EVBs from the sales counter of the SKIMS Pharmacy and initiate necessary action against those involved in the sale of such expired items.
Later, an inquiry panel was ordered on the instructions of SKIMS Director. However, the inquiry has been delayed for more than a month.
Medical Superintendent, Dr Farooq A Jan told Rising Kashmir that there were some lacunas found in the probe report as only one person was indicted by them.
“The report which the probe panel submitted had some mission links. We have sought the clarification and they are yet to reply back,” he said.
Dr Jan said the initial probe report had been sent to the Director SKIMS also who had asked the panel to seek written statements from all the accused.
“He wanted the report to me inclusive rather than a document prepared in hotchpotch,” MS said