The doctors alleged that MLA, using his political influence, got at least 75 tests done on TrueNat due to which the machine broke down.

The doctors at Moga Civil Hospital Thursday protested against local MLA Harjot Kamal two days after the Congress leader allegedly got 75 tests done on TrueNat machine “by force” of “his people who were going abroad” and “humiliated publicly” a woman doctor on duty and “got her transferred to Ludhiana” after she refused to do more tests.

The doctors stopped the services at Civil Hospital for an hour on Thursday from 10 to 11 am demanding that Dr Ritu Jain’s transfer orders be withdrawn.

Dr Gagandeep Singh and Dr Indervir Gill, who led the protest, said that TrueNat machine accepts only 18 samples for coronavirus testing in 12 hours and according to the orders of the state health department, TrueNat testing has to be done only for ‘local and emergency cases’ and ‘needy patients’ and not for those going abroad or NRIs.

The doctors alleged that MLA, using his political influence, got at least 75 tests done on TrueNat due to which the machine broke down. He also allegedly ‘humiliated’ Dr Jain who was on TrueNat duty on Tuesday.

“First, a list of 35 persons came on August 2 from the MLA’s office to get their tests done on TrueNat. They all were NRIs going abroad. The tests were done and the machine broke down because of indiscriminate testing. For next four days, no tests could be done. The machine was got repaired in Chandigarh and when TrueNat testing resumed, MLA against sent 40 more people on Tuesday, who were going abroad. The doctor on duty requested him that so many samples cannot be tested on TrueNat machine at once but he started humiliating her. He also used foul language and got her transferred,” alleged Dr Gagandeep.

“The government orders clearly state that TrueNat testing is for common, needy people not NRIs who are going abroad. They have to get testing done on their own,” he added.

The doctors further said that health services will be disrupted for 2 hours on Friday from 10 am to 12 noon across Moga and if the Dr Jain’s transfer orders are not rolled back, no doctor will perform Covid-19 duties from Friday onwards.

Doctors also submitted a memorandum to the civil surgeon and the deputy commissioner demanding immediate cancellation of transfer orders of Dr Jain.

Meanwhile, the MLA, who too has been tested positive on TrueNat, in a statement said, “Dr Jain’s transfer is a routine procedure as per transfer list of 20 doctors issued on August 10. I have always tried to help the people of my constituency in whichever way I could during coronavirus crisis. There are several family members of NRIs including old parents, senior citizens etc who came to Punjab before lockdown and got stuck here. Now when they are expected to go back, it is necessary for them to get tested 72 hours before their flight. So what is wrong if we were just helping them.”

Citing a video clip that was shared on social media, the MLA said, “It is clear that Dr Jain misbehaved with me and talked while pointing fingers and despite my best efforts to make her understand that how important it was to get those NRIs tested, she did not understand. Still I apologized to her on the spot. I have nothing to do with her transfer. Other doctors leading the protest are making a political issue against me just for their own benefits and personal motives,” he said.

No TrueNat testing for NRIs, orders addl chief secy

Anurag Agarwal, additional chief secretary, department of health and family welfare, Thursday issued an order on ‘usage of TrueNat machine for testing’. “TrueNat machines must be used only for testing emergency cases like hospitalized, SARI/ILI cases etc. These machines should not be used for testing general public including NRIs, who should be encouraged to get tested either at the Flu corners or by private testing centres. People coming for testing as per conditions required by certain countries to have a test report before 72 hours of travel must also be advised to go for private testing or at Flu corners. This is strictly to be adhered without any deviation,” the order read.

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