Odd-job boys give injections in hospital

The clip made for shocking viewing.

In the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, a government hospital has been using ward boys, or those who do odd jobs in wards, to administer injections. It's also using sweepers to stitch patients' wounds.

Footage showing such an employee giving an injection to a patient at the district hospital and another stitching the wounds of an injured child have been aired on Indian television channels. But hospital authorities maintained such staff were "trained" to carry out the procedures, The Times of India reported.

The Uttar Pradesh state government has ordered an inquiry, saying such lax procedures will not be tolerated and stern action will be taken against the errant staff.

The hospital's Chief Medical Superintendent, DrShishir Kumar, claimed: "The ward boy in the clip that was shown on TV has even worked in the operation theatre for 10 years.

"Apart from that, he also dresses up wounds. He's perfectly trained for dressing purposes."

Maintaining that what was shown was not an operation but dressing of wound, DrKumar said: "The one who was being called cleaning boy was only cutting the thread during stitching.

"The ward boy doing the stitching was trained, and it happened under my supervision."

He alleged that the clip did not show the doctors even though they were attending to the patient. Claiming that the visuals may send a "wrong signal", he said, "...in case of disaster or emergency, we have to work as a unit. And, if you follow this case, you will realise that a very good job has been done."

Mr V. K Sharma, additional health director of the area, who visited the hospital after the clip was aired, said: "They (ward boys) were not operating. The man was working as an assistant." But Mr Sharma said that he has suggested to Dr Kumar that in future, only doctors should do stitches or operate on patients.

This article was first published in  The New Paper .