Health Council recommends fresh graduate doctors do a six-month attachment at Thimphu Hospital
The Bhutan Medical and Health Council (BMHC) during investigations on complaints from the public found out that there is a need for fresh graduate doctors to do attachment in Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) for at least six months.
It was one of the recommendations by the professional ethics committee comprising senior doctors at the Thimphu Hospital.
So far, fresh graduate doctors after a month of orientation were transferred to district hospitals across the country.
The Registrar of BMHC, Sonam Dorji, said that it is important for doctors to be oriented with the kind of disease pathology in the country.
“With students studying in different colleges across the globe, they learn about the disease pathology of that particular country and the kind of medications that are administered,” he said, adding that some medications that are administered in other countries are not the same in Bhutan.
A senior medical specialist at JDWNRH also feels that the new doctors need to acquaint themselves with diseases that are prevalent in Bhutan and also check on medication administered to patients. “Some antibiotics that are given to patients suffering from certain diseases in India are not administered in Bhutan,” he said.
According to the Secretary of Ministry of Health (MoH), Dr. Ugen Dophu, fresh doctors need to get some idea about Bhutan and its pathology before going out on their own.
For instance, on 24 May, a 74-year old farmer was brought to the Norbugang BHU in Pemagatshel after suffering a snakebite. The man was then referred to Nganglam BHU, but died due to complications. The family of the victim alleged that the death occurred due to the negligence of the doctor on duty. But afterwards, an investigation revealed that the doctor was very young, had always worked in district hospitals and therefore was unsure whether to administer the medication.
The BMHC investigation findings revealed that though the management by the doctor and nurses on duty were up to a reasonable standard, specific type of care the patient needed was not given.
Talking to Business Bhutan, Sonam Dorji said that the investigations also revealed that a lot of time had been lost while referring the patient from the first BHU to BHU grade I.
“Further, the patient was not brought to the hospital immediately. Time was lost performing local treatment,” he said.
Sonam Dorji also said that while reviewing the case, the professional ethics committee which comprise senior doctors from JDWNRH revealed that the death was caused by not only the snake bite but due to other underlying causes.
Therefore, the professional ethics committee recommended that the doctor in this case be placed in a referral hospital under the supervision of a senior doctor for six months so that he can learn the required skills and patient management that are relevant to Bhutan.
The professional ethics committee also found the nurse incharge and nurse-on-duty at fault for not having done the documentation properly. The nurses are reprimanded for six months, which could affect their certificate of good standing which is important for promotion or to pursue higher studies.
In the case of the doctor, he will be under supervision for six months and will be working on conditional registration. At the end of six months, the senior doctor will have to write a letter to BMHC stating his behavior.