Officials in fake anesthetist scandal to face disciplinary action

Those who helped Do Huu Tam be assigned as an anesthetist, though untrained and unqualified, at Cho Ray Hospital, HCM City, will face disciplinary action, said Nguyen Tuan Hung, manger of the Personnel Department at the Ministry of Health. 

An unqualified anesthetist's failure may cause fatality on the operation table

In response to the scandal, Vietnam’s first ever such case in the medical sector, the department has assigned inspectors to the hospital to work on the problem and will draw up solutions to prevent it happening again, said Mr. Hung.
Since it is a serious wake-up call for the nation’s medical sector, the ministry has instructed all hospitals, medical centers and institutions nationwide to check the authenticity of all duplicated copies of degrees, diplomas and certificates submitted by their staff. 
Discussing the health sector’s recruitment procedures for medical workers, Mr Hung asserted that it rules are very strict and comply with current state regulations. 
The applicant not merely hands in all notarized duplicated copies of qualifications, but also originals copies to the relevant personnel department, agency or institution so that authenticity can be checked. 
Aside from required qualifications, the candidate must get through a probation period, which has been certified by the management.
As to the Do Huu Tam case, who had worked for Cho Ray Hospital for almost two years but had not graduated from medical university, Mr Hung blamed it on lax management at Cho Ray Hospital’s Personnel Department.
The manager of the department will be held responsible, he added.
While working with the hospital’s Personnel Department, the inspectors have found that Tam had been recommended by Dr. Hoang Xuan Ly, former head of the anesthesia department, to work as a student doctor at the department in March 2006. 
Tam submitted to the hospital’s Personnel Department a certified copy of his medical degree granted by Hue Medical University, but did not produce the original copy for a comparison, as required.
Mr. Hung said that the hospital’s Personnel Department should have forced Tam to comply with regulations on recruitment, but they ignored the rules.
He attributed the responsibility to the hospital’s management and requested them to take back all the certifications issued by themselves, if any, to Tam.
The hospital had to also fire Tam and transfer his case for criminal investigation. 
By the end of the week, the management and the Executive Board of the Party Committee of the hospital will meet and determine disciplinary action against the hospital’s Personnel Department management and three others involved in the scandal, he added.

On March 27, 2006, Do Huu Tam was admitted to work at Cho Ray Hospital as anesthetist under a one-year contract, mostly thanks to the recommendation of a number of high-ranking officials in the medical sector.

To fulfill the job application, Tam handed in a certified copy of his doctor’s degree granted by Hue Medical University in 1997 and certification of two short- term training courses on anesthesia signed by Dr. Huynh The Hung and Hoang Xuan Ly in 1998 and 2007 respectively.

Both doctors were former heads of the Anesthesia Department of Cho Ray Hospital and are retired.

One year later, Tam’s contract was renewed.

By the end of 2008, Tam was told to take part in a qualification test in preparation for the signing of a long- term employment contract.

On June 16, the hospital received a letter saying that Tam had used a fake degree for his job application.

Tam’s certified copy of degree was then sent to the Hue Medical University for verification, where the university said that Tam is not on the university’s list of graduates in 1997.

Do Huu Tam was fired from his post in Cho Ray hospital  on July 7.

By Khanh Nguyen – Translated by Phuong Lan

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