In a shocking incident, officers of the state weights and measures department have seized a weighing machine from the Neo Surge Hospital in Ghatkopar, saying the doctors cannot use the machine for commercial purposes.
The action has left doctors handicapped as they are unable to record the weight of the patients being treated there.
On Friday, two officers from the weights and measures department under the ministry of food, civil supplies and consumer protection visited the Neo Surge Hospital and sought to check the weighing machines. After conducting the check, they took away one of the machines saying that the machine could be used for commercial purposes.
According to sources, the machine that has been seized was used to weight adults and it seems that officials are planning to seize another machine that is used to weigh babies.
"The officials were going to seal the weighing machine used for babies as well, but after hospital staff told them that a two-and-a-half-month-old baby that had undergone surgery required to be weighed, they didn't seal the machine," said a source at the hospital.
Dr Ketan Parikh, senior paediatric surgeon who owns Neo Surge, claimed that the officials were trying to harass the management of the institution.
"We have two weighing machines, one for adults and another for babies. How can they say that we are using these machines for commercial activities when weighing patients is part of our medical work?" Parikh asked.
"The officials also told our staff that the machines should be checked every year by their department, but we were not aware about this. Before taking any such action they should have given us a notice and had we not complied with the rules they could have gone ahead with the procedure," he said.
Parikh said the officials had asked the hospital management to meet them at their Kurla office. "Till then we cannot measure the weight of patients," he said.
Doctors routinely measure the weight of patients during the course of investigations, or to monitor the progress of those who are under their treatment.
Some other doctors this correspondent spoke to were also not aware that their weighing machines are to be checked by the government department.
When contacted, Anil Deshmukh, minister for food, civil supplies and consumer protection, said, "I don't know how this has happened, but our intention is definitely not to harass anyone. We will look into the matter."