183 years on | CWMH consultant surgeon resigns

Doctor Deo Dutt Sharma at his work desk at the CWMH in 1978. Picture: FT FILE

The Fiji Times reported on the front page of its May 25, 1978 issue, the resignation of the Colonial War Memorial Hospital’s highly qualified consultant surgeon, Deo Dutt Sharma.

In a letter of resignation to the Public Service Commission, he said since joining the hospital staff in 1971, he noticed things which necessarily arose out of bigotry and gross administrative inadequacy.

“The administrators has been so pigheaded in the past that it was impossible to impress any chance on them.”

“Now, with amateurs in schoolboys’ uniforms in charge, things have reached ridiculous proportions.” The posting of doctors to the surgical unit had been a “big joke”, he said.

“Almost any Tom, Dick and Harry are considered fit to do surgery. They come and go as the administrators like.”

“They are examples galore of the lack of drugs and instruments. Nursing care is worse now”

“In fact, in a good many cases the patient might be safer staying at home.”

He said some staff had struggled in the past to maintain some sort of standard.

“But surely this could not go on forever. I have decided that my support to this inefficient system must come to an end. Mr Sharma gave a month’s notice.

He said he did not see any point in staying around in the government medical service because he did not see “anything changing in a hurry”.

But he intended to remain in Suva and go into private practice.

“I am not running away yet. If the system is cleaned and I am asked to come and work, I would consider it.”

Mr Sharma was born in Fiji and did a year at the Fiji School of Medicine before going to Bombay on an Indian Government Scholarship.

He obtained his medical doctor’s degree from Bombay and went to New Zealand to work for four years.

Then he went to Britain for two years for further study at his own expense, and became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

After completing these studies in 1974, he returned to Fiji to work at CWMH.

In 1977, after a trip to Britain, to keep in touch with surgical developments, he did further studies and in November became a Fellow of the Australasian College of Surgeons.

He said there was no other surgeon with the qualifications he had, to take over his job at CWMH.


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