Doc skips work for months but Kims takes him back

 A neurosurgeon at the Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences (Kims), Hubli, who remained in unauthorised absence for a staggering 19 months, has been reinstated, reportedly after a former Union minister and a minister in the State government applied pressure, sources claimed.  

Dr Kranthi Kiran remained absent for 591 days from November 3, 2012, to June 16, 2014, without applying for leave. His absence affected scores of poor patients from north Karnataka needing surgeries for neurological disorders, Kims sources said. Postgraduate students of Neurosurgery Department at Kims were also affected. 

Dr Kiran initially applied for 92 days’ leave from August 1, 2012, to October 31, 2012, and reported for work on November 2, 2012. The next day, however, he went on leave again, without authorisation. The Kims management served him notices at least thrice:
 December 3, 2012, January 3, 2013, and January 15, 2013. But the doctor chose not to reply. His act is in clear violation of the Karnataka Civil Service Norms 106 A (CCA) of 1957, sources claimed. 

Quoting the rule and violation, Kims director Dr U S Hangaraga issued a memo to Dr Kiran seeking his reply within three days and warning of disciplinary action if he failed to respond. Again, there was no communication. Despite the doctor’s absence, the Kims administration credited his salary of over Rs one lakh every month, sources said. But Dr Hangaraga insisted that the doctor’s absence was considered leave without pay.

He conceded that Dr Kiran’s absence created problems for poor patients and PG students. “We hired the services of four doctors from Dharwad to ensure treatment of patients and fulfill the academic requirements of students.” 

On February 8, 2013, the Kims director informed the secretary of Health and Family Welfare department that Dr Kiran’s unauthorised leave had inconvenienced patients and students. The director wrote another letter to all heads of Departments of Surgeries on February 17, 2014, directing them to supervise the Neurosurgery Department. 

On April 19 this year, Dr Kiran apparently approached Medical Education Minister Dr Sharanprakash Patil, requesting reinstatement. On June 23, 2014, the Kims governing council decided to regularise Dr Kiran’s absence. Accordingly, the director directed him on July 25, 2014, to report for work two days later.

 But strangely, Dr Kiran has not reported to the hospital yet. Dr Hangaraga said he would take up the matter with the government on Friday. Sources cited Dr Kiran was busy in setting up a multi-speciality centre for neurological disorders in Hubli and hence remained absent. He has been redirecting patients coming to Kims to his hospital, they claimed. Dr Hangaraga said that he had directed his staff to verify the information and action would be taken if he was found guilty. 

“We issued him a memo asking him to explain his unauthorised absence. Now, we have decided to write a letter to the Directorate of Medical Education (DME) seeking departmental inquiry and disciplinary action against him. It is up to the DME to constitute a panel of inquiry or probe the matter on its own,” Dr Hangaraga said. 

The director, however, justified Dr Kiran’s reinstatement, saying it was decided by the governing council, the highest decision-making body of the institute. Besides, the decision was taken as there is no other neurosurgeon at Kims. The governing council comprises the medical education minister, the medical education secretary and others. Neither Patil nor Dr Kiran responded to queries seeking their comment. 

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