Private Medical Colleges and Registration of Doctors

There is often a hue and cry in the newspapers regarding the standards of the private medical colleges that are springing up like mushrooms after a monsoon rainfall in India , Nepal and Bangladesh. Some of the concern is no doubt justified, but to my knowledge the ones that really lack standards never have problems getting recognition from the Medical Councils. But that is by the by.
However such concerns are not really new. As long as a 100 years ago, on the 30th of June 1908, the Calcutta “Statesman” carried a report about a “Dome “ named Poltu no less, who walked about the shops on Bowbazar Steet carrying a human arm and a skull, soliciting arms. Several shopkeepers quickly obliged him out of superstitious wonder, but he was soon picked up by the Police and jailed. It was suspected that he had obtained these specimens from the Anatomy Dissection Hall of the Calcutta Medical College, but this was proved false by the Senior Demonstrator of Anatomy who showed that the parts were so inexpertly dissected, that they could not possibly have come from the Medical College. I remember that even in our days, anatomy dissections were carried out under the eagle eyes of our teachers and fairly competently, so that this sounds very credible indeed.
It turned out that the spoils were from one of the Private institutions that existed in those days. One of them, was grandly titled the “College of Physicians and Surgeons of India” and was established in 1897 by two physicians, Dr Fernandez and Dr N Das. This was not the first however, the first such Institution, this was set up in 1884, Another Institution that was extant at that time was the National Hospital and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of India. This college, situated in 30, Cornwallis Street, ( now , of course known as Bidhan Sarani) was staffed by several ex Army physicians , including a Lt. Col Nandi, a Major Sinha and a Major Basu.
However this incident sparked off a debate regarding the proper licensing of medical schools in India and led, much later though, to the proper registration of doctors and the issue of “recognition of Medical Colleges”!

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