Sambalpur: The director of the reputed Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (VIMSAR) is in the eye of a storm over allegations of conducting illegal and unethical experiments on his unsuspecting patients.

Going by the allegations made by the Junior Doctors Association (JDA) of VIMSAR, Dr Aswini Pujahari is suspected to have being carrying on his nefarious experiments for over a year now.

The JDA has alleged that Dr Pujahari, along with some other surgeons and oncologists of the hospital, has been applying table salt and lemon juice to the wounds of cancer patients in the operation theatre. The former Army doctor has also been prescribing the concoction to his patients on his official medical pad.

A complaint in this regard has been lodged with the Odisha’s health ministry. The state government has formed a four-member team to probe the matter and submit its report in 10 days. VIMSAR dean and principal Braja Mohan Mishra said he received the official communication about the team last Saturday, the team arrived on November 26 and stayed for two days to investigate.

Health minister Pratap Jena said that the situation is being reviewed at the hospital.

Dr Nilamadhaba Prusty, a member of the Resident Doctors Association (RDA), told MyNation, “What Dr Aswini Pujahari is doing, is just gross professional misconduct. This is a clear-cut violation of human rights also. There is no authentic scientific data available to support the procedure he is following. Who has given him permission for human experimentation? Medical Council of India (MCI) should intervene in this matter.”

The junior doctors went on partial strike from November 17 to protest against Dr Pujahari after the 48-hour ultimatum they had given to the health department lapsed. As part of their 10-point charter of demands, the association has asked for Dr Pujahari removal from the post of director of the institute.


The spokesperson of the JDA, Dr Shraddhananda Rout, said, “Dr Pujahari must immediately be removed from the position of the director of VIMSAR. An FIR must be registered for killing innocent patients by dangerous human experimentation and criminal negligence.” 

Dr Rout also said, “We've already lodged several police complaints. So far several patients have died, recently three, due to his experiments and this is murder because you cannot put salt directly in the abdomen. This is happening for last one year and we have been carrying on a non-violence protest for the past 10 days.”


The JDA has also alleged that Dr Pujahari has also employed strong-arm tactics with other doctors, has got false complaints lodged against them apart from threatening undergraduate and postgraduate students to ruin their careers. The JDA also mentioned misbehavior with girl students by way of moral policing. 

Meanwhile, director Pujahari has written to the Odisha governor seeking investigation into the allegations leveled by the junior doctors. If the allegations were to prove true, he would face any punishment prescribed, he said in the letter.

Meanwhile, Dr Pujahari defended his procedures. “I am using as hypertonic saline. Whenever you're using hypertonic saline, it neutralises cancer cells in that area so they don't grow further and spread of metastasis is repaired,” he said. 

“Salt is a very common thing; it is there in toothpaste. Most of the doctors also whom you go for cough and cold, ENTs also suggest saline gurgling. Do you realise how much salt we're putting into water? We don't know. So here we're not taking surgery, it is experimental surgery. It is just after the surgery if cancer is suspected to be leftover, you give me timer of 5-7 minutes depending on the concentration, then we suck it out and wash it again. I'll send you some literature on it.”

He rubbished the allegations, calling them “totally false”. He said records were maintained which showed that patients who died were mostly in their last stage of cancer. 

“I keep all my records. They're telling 16-17 deaths. This is impossible. I keep my data. These are all false. I've kept my data throughout since I became a surgeon in ’88. Anybody can check whatever data is there in the case files,” said Dr Pujahari, “So once in a while you give things a trial,” he added.

Dr Pujahari, in turn accused the junior doctors of stoking this controversy for personal gains. “The boys are after me because they’re rusticated by some professors. They were not coming to duty.” He also added that the students do not review 'literature’ and their motive is to get 80-100% in the examination which they would otherwise fail, so they are threatening him for being strict in his administration. 

MyNation spoke to reputed oncologist Dr Ashutosh Hota, of Regional Cancer Centre, Cuttack who clearly mentioned that the use of common salt on wounds to treat cancer is totally unethical and against medical rules and guidelines. He also stated that nowhere else in the world does any doctor use/ should use salt for treating cancer because rock salt which we get in the market is not sterile for medical applications on the body.