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Delhi Hospital Fires Doctor for Social Media Posts on Shortage of Protective Gear, Masks

The termination letter issued by Hindu Rao Hospital's medical superintendent accused the orthopaedic surgeon of "bringing disrepute to the institution."

New Delhi: The Hindu Rao Hospital, which comes under the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, has terminated the services of an orthopaedic surgeon who had raised the issue of there being a shortage of “proper equipment and masks” at the hospital for staff despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

An order terminating his service was issued by the medical superintendent and it accused him of “bringing disrepute to the institution.”

It was a month ago, on March 16, that a showcause notice was issued to Dr Piyush Singh by the medical superintendent of the hospital in which it was stated that he had “uploaded a video of the orthopaedic emergency ward of the Hindu Rao Hospital at 4:29 pm on 14.3.2010 on Facebook along with derogatory statements.”

The notice further stated, “You have bypassed the channels available to you for addressing your grievance and directly recorded to social media, which is objectionable (sic).”

Further the notice had asked Singh to “explain within 24 hours” why he should not be terminated from DNB court for not notifying the grievance either to his guide, or the head of department, the DNB coordinator, the DNB grievance cell or administration before taking to social media.

Also read: Doctors Are Running Out of Protective Gear. Why Didn’t the Govt Stop Exports in Time?

After a lapse of nearly a month, a subsequent office order was issued by the medical superintendent on April 15. It stated that “as per director of DHA/North DMC, Dr Piyush Pushkar Singh, DNB student in Orthopaedics Department in Hindu Rao Hospital, Delhi is terminated from his services with immediate effect for bringing disrepute to the institution.”

Earlier, Singh had pleaded innocence while responding to a tweet by a health journalist, who had stated that he was “fired” for “sharing a video of water dripping on a patient’s bed – thereby bringing ‘disrepute’ to the hospital” and that he was also being “accused of stealing masks and kits, etc.” and “for taking a donation of kits and distributing it to doctors”.

In his comments, he said that he had not stolen anything and that action was initiated despite him cooperating with the hospital administration.

Singh’s Twitter posts show he has been vocal on issues pertaining to facilities for doctors. He has also been using social media to spread awareness about COVID-19. In a post on March 20, he appealed to people to stay at home and not listen to rumours.

On March 27, after the lockdown had begun, he had put out another post to point out that there was shortage of “proper equipment and masks” for the staff at the hospital.

The Wire tried to contact Singh for his views but his phone was not reachable. We will update the story with his views as an when they are received.