Bhim Army Chief And His Doctor Hid His Medical Condition Before Donating Blood, Says AIIMS
A reply by AIIMS to an activist reveals that the hospital discarded Azad’s donated blood but did so only after social media users revealed that Azad suffers from a blood disorder and is unfit to donate blood.
Last month, Swarajya reported about a controversy that had erupted after the doctor of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad posted his pictures donating blood at state-run All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
The doctor, Harjit Singh Bhatti, posted the pictures saying “Furthering our services to Covid-19 patients, today me and Chandrashekhar Azad bhai donated blood at JPNA AIIMS Trauma Centre…”
JPNA refers to Jai Prakash Narayan Apex Trauma Center (JPNATC) at AIIMS.
The reason behind the controversy was a social media post by another doctor at AIIMS, Prashant Sharma, on 16 May.
Sharma pointed out that Azad, as per his own statement in a Delhi court, is suffering from a blood disorder called Polycythemia Vera. Sharma said that such a person is not fit to donate blood. He asked if Azad and Bhatti were risking people’s lives.
An activist, Prerna Thiruvaipati, then wrote to the management of AIIMS asking for a probe into the incident, and sought information about what happened to the blood donated by Azad. Swarajya reported it on 26 May here.
Three weeks later, the AIIMS management has replied to the activist’s queries.
The reply reveals that both Azad and Bhatti hid Azad’s medical condition from the hospital. It also reveals that the hospital eventually discarded the donated blood, but did so only after the matter was highlighted on social media.
What has happened:
Here’s what the activist, who is member of an organisation called ‘All India Dalit Youth Association’, wrote to AIIMS on May 25:
“Two weeks ago, we saw pictures of Chandrashekhar Azad (who heads an outfit called Bhim Army and a political party called Azad Samaj Party), donating blood at Jai Prakash Narayan Apex Trauma Center at AIIMS. His doctor, Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti, shared the pictures on Facebook...”
“This is shocking. Media has reported time and again that Azad is suffering from a disease called Polycythemia, which is a blood disorder, and blood of such a person can not be transfused to a patient.”
She also tweeted about it:
Here’s what the management replied to the activist through email on 12 June. The reply is based on responses by doctors to the chief of Trauma Centre.
The email, accessed by Swarajya, says:
“During the blood donor screening process, Mr Chandrashekhar was also screened as per the departmental Standard Operating Procedure, where his medical history and examination was performed. According to his declaration, he had donated blood 6 month back. He also declared that he was not suffering from any medical condition which may affect his health or may harm the recipients..”
“Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti his treating physician, who was also accompanying him also did not inform about his current diagnosis and medication/treatment. Later on some report on social media, highlighting his OPD Card, said that he was suffering from Polycythemia Vera (highlighted by Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti) were forwarded. Considering that his blood was not fit for transfusion purposes, his blood was discarded.”
The AIIMS’s reply also carries a letter sent by doctors to chief of Trauma Centre on 18 May, that is, two days after the blood donation.
It says that of all the collected blood units, one donor was “later found to be a known case of Polycythemia Vera and his donated blood was separated and discarded”.
On 13 June, the activist posted parts of this email exchange on Twitter accusing Azad and his doctor of “gross negligence”.
“We demand answers from @BhimArmyChief and @DrHarjitBhatti. Why did you do this? And mind you, I am not going to stop at asking you questions on Twitter. This is just to tell people what they are up to!” she wrote.
Both Azad and Bhatti, meanwhile, have remained mum on the matter so far. After the controversy in May, Bhatti simply took down the pictures of blood donation without offering any explanation.
It is pertinent to mention here that in April, AIIMS-Delhi had released a statement naming Harjit Singh Bhatti. The letter said that “some outsiders are trying to tarnish the image of AIIMS” and “Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti is not associated with AIIMS”.
Bhatti, as Swarajya earlier reported, has wrongly endorsed himself as an official spokesperson of AIIMS in the media in the past even when he was not employed with the institute. He is a former president of residents doctors’ association (RDA) At AIIMS-Delhi, but is not employed with the institute anymore.
A February 2019 post by official handle of Youth Congress said Bhatti had joined the Congress party.
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