‘We are not racists’: Doctors, patients embrace #SaveRutherford
By Latha Narayanan ReporterOctober 10, 2019 08:29:57Doctors and patients are embracing the #SaveHeron campaign.
A group of doctors, nurses and students is holding a “Save Rutherford” rally at the University of Delhi to protest against a controversial decision to replace the renowned physician with a new female surgeon.
Dr M.V. Krishnamurthy, professor of surgery at the Jawaharlal Nehru University Medical College, said the new surgeon will not be a man, but a woman.
“The decision is in the best interests of the country,” he said.
The decision to hire a woman for the post of surgeon-in-chief came after a spate of cases of male surgical colleagues being referred to hospital by female colleagues in recent months.
A recent case involved a woman undergoing hysterectomy and the decision was taken to replace her with a male colleague, the Medical College of India said in a statement.
A petition was filed by the Save Rutherford group to have the appointment made in a female-to-male surgical team.
The group also called on the Government to conduct a census of all surgical staff in the country and ensure gender parity at all surgical centres.
The Government has already asked the Medical Council of India (MCI) to conduct an assessment of the surgical workforce in the Indian Army, while the government has also proposed the formation of a gender-sensitive committee to probe gender bias in surgery.
In its decision, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had recommended that the appointment of a woman as surgeon- in-chief should not be made.
The recommendation is being followed by the government and is yet to be taken up by the Medical Board of India.
“The appointment of an independent female surgeon is in line with the government’s desire to ensure gender equality in the health care sector,” Dr Krishnamurtty said.
“A doctor’s gender should be the only one that matters in deciding what a surgeon does.”
The decision has drawn strong criticism from a range of medical associations.
Doctors from the Medical Association of India, the Indian Medical Association and the Indian Association of Surgeons have demanded that the government immediately reverse the decision.
“It is a major blow to the reputation of the medical profession,” said Dr Anurag Pandey, general secretary of the IMA.
“We are shocked by this move.
It is an act of arrogance on the part of the Government.”
The IMA, which represents over 2,000 doctors in India, said it has also demanded an investigation into the appointment and the appointment should be rescinded immediately.
“We condemn this action of the government.
We have repeatedly called for an independent inquiry into the issue,” Dr Pandey said.
Doctors, nurses, students and doctors from other medical institutions have also protested.