New Delhi: Here's a new twist to multi-tasking! A
security guard at a Delhi government-run hospital doubles up as a
paramedic - jabbing patients with a syringe to collect blood.
At the Delhi-government-run Satyawati Raja Harish Chandra Hospital
in west Delhi's Narela area, Puneet Gaur, 26, guards the main gate
from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. In between, he is summoned to
help out with collecting blood.
Gaur expertly ties a rubber band around the arm of the patient,
searches for a vein, daubs the spot with a spirit-soaked piece of
cotton, and lets the syringe needle in to draw out blood. He then
squirts the collected blood into small labelled glass vials for
testing - just like an expert.
Enquiries revealed that Gaur does not have the required lab
technician's diploma to perform the job, though he claims to have
a B.Sc degree.
Earlier this year, untrained employees of a government hospital
were caught on camera carrying out post-mortem in a Meerut
district hospital in Uttar Pradesh. Prior to this, sweepers were
found stitching up wounds in a hospital in Bulandshahr, also in
In the case of Gaur, he appears to have become an expert at
Queried about using the services of a guard to draw and collect
blood, hospital medical superintendent Chandrakant told IANS: "The
hospital is facing a huge staff crunch, and we are left with no
alternative but to take his help for blood collection."
The 200-bed hospital has also been facing a shortage of doctors
for a very long time, Chandrakant said.
Gaur is employed with a private security firm that outsources its
guards to the hospital. He has been working at the facility for
the past three years and began to help out with collecting blood
one and a half years ago. Gaur does not charge for the extra work,
according to hospital staff.
"Gaur is collecting the blood of patients which is the work of a
specially qualified degree or diploma holder," a hospital staff
member told IANS on condition of anonymity.
"Puneet is a graduate. And what's wrong in taking his help,"
Chandrakant countered when asked about Gaur's lack of
qualifications for the job, adding: "If we do not take his help,
then there will be long queues at the hospital."
Gaur refused to speak to an IANS correspondent on the issue, only
stating "MS sahab hi batayenge (only the medical superintendent
"We have written to the Delhi government several times about
severe staff crunch in the hospital but to no avail," another
staff member told IANS on condition of anonymity.
Gaur draws a Rs.4,000 salary of a security guard.
The post of lab technician at the hospital has been lying vacant
for two years, a staff member said.
"This is very unfortunate if it is happening in a hospital. The
government should do something in order to fill up the vacant
posts in the hospitals," Harish Gupta, president of the Delhi
Medical Association, told IANS.
"The shortage of staff in Delhi government hospitals is not new.
Several big hospitals in the capital are also suffering from a
huge staff crunch, in the lower as well as senior levels," he
When contacted V.K. Aggarwal, Additional Director (Medical)
Monitoring, Coordination and Supervision of Dispensaries of the
Delhi government, said the shortage of lab technicians and lab
assistants keeps on happening from time to time. "The matter is in
our notice. We are looking into it," Aggarwal told IANS.
The hospital gets 20,000-25,000 patients a year. According to the
figure compiled by the Delhi government, last year, the hospital
got 21,776 patients.
(Alok Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)