Documents passed to Sunday Standard have revealed allegations of collusion and cartel like operations at Bokamoso Private Hospital, where doctors are embroiled in bitter fights over patients. Some doctors have raised complaints that as the bitter war rages on, patient care and health provision have been compromised while the Hippocratic Oath, taken by doctors upon graduation, was thrown out the window.
Investigations have also revealed details of the tortured relationship among doctors at Bokamoso Private Hospital. In a letter dated 8th January 2013 and addressed to the Chief Executive Officer of Bokamoso Private Hospital Ruben Naidoo, a private medical doctor, Dr Mula Ahmed of Health Initiative Botswana narrated a harrowing experience he was put through by anesthesiologists at the hospital.
Dr Ahmed talked about an alliance between some doctors and some anesthesiologists which almost stalled a surgical patient care in the hospital. He said he earned the wrath of doctors at the hospital when he invited another doctor to come and perform anesthesia. He later received a letter from one of the resident doctors who informed him that all his associates would not give anesthesia to his patients anymore since he decided to invite an outsider to give anesthesia to his patients.
“The threat came to reality during this festive season as I had to rope in third parties to beg the anesthesiologists to service my patients. There were even quarrels in front of the patients,” said Dr Ahmed.
He added that he was repeatedly warned never to repeat his mistake of inviting outsiders to give anesthesia to his patients. Dr Ahmed also explained that he had to raise a complaint with management because he believes the patients do not belong to the doctors but to the hospital.
“The patients are not for particular individuals but for management, all health workers and the state. I wonder if inviting an outsider who is not associated with this alliance is so deplorable that innocent patients have to be committed to such poor care when I am not around,” he said.
Dr Ahmed suggested that anesthesiologists should put aside their trivial differences and put up a weekly cover that would cater for such inevitable occurrences as the absence of the preferred anesthesiologists. He also urged the hospital management to act fast and save the image of the hospital by avoiding a repeat of such a nasty experience. He also explained that his aim is not to fault others but to help the administration to enhance patient care as well as the hospital and country’s aim of promoting health provision.
“I always want the health of the patient to be a priority irrespective of leanings and or affiliations. This is what is envisaged in the Hippocratic Oath that every qualified doctor proclaims to be graduated,” said Dr Ahmed.
When contacted for comment this week, Dr Ahmed was cagey with details, save to say that the situation is better. For his part, Naidoo said Bokamoso management was not aware of the alleged unethical conduct by some doctors.
“We cannot respond to this statement as we are not aware of these allegations. Maybe we could address it if you gave us proof. However we have systems in place to address negligence and we are not aware of any practices of such nature,” he said.
He added that management was not aware of any unethical practices at the hospital and referred further enquiries to Botswana Health Practitioners Council (BHPC) who are the governing body for doctors. Dr Julio Gonzalez of MediConsultants Group, which has been accused of collusion by some doctors, said they formed the company so they could share costs like rentals. He denied that some members of MediConsultants Group were involved in unethical conduct. He also denied allegations that they have been instructed by the Ministry of Health to split up the company.