LAHORE While dengue virus is playing havoc with life and health of Lahorites, medical universities and colleges have allowed senior doctors of teaching cadre to enjoy holidays, TheNation has learnt. The ruthless dengue was putting the people to sword during the previous month when half of the teaching staff was on leave as per the normal practice at medical universities and colleges in the province including Lahore. Management of medical universities, colleges and teaching hospitals did not bother to call professors, associate professors and assistant professors back on duty to cope with the emergency declared by the Punjab Government. As per the schedule set for normal circumstances, half of the teaching cadre staff takes seven month leave at the start of summer vacations and the remaining enjoy the same after returning of their colleagues to duty. Summer vacations of half of teaching staff at medical universities and colleges started on June 15 and ended on August 6. The remaining teaching staff enjoyed holidays from August 7 to October 1. Over 250 professors, associate professors and assistant professors teaching at medical universities and colleges were on leave during September when the dengue took lives of hundreds of people in the City alone. Whether the Punjab Health Department was in the dark or it was not giving any weight to the absence of senior consultants, the Lahorites were the ultimate losers as junior doctors and even medical students continued attending patients when the dengue was on killing spree. Instead of cancelling scheduled leaves of consultants in Lahore and calling experts from other cities, the Punjab Health Department asked hospitals to recruit doctors on adhoc basis through walk in interviews to cope with the emergency caused by the dengue outbreak. The government also recruited 1,000 nurses to overcome shortage of allied staff at teaching hospitals in Lahore. But it did not bother to cancel summer vacations of senior consultants to streamline treatment process of dengue patients at major public sector healthcare centres in the City. As the dengue was relatively a new disease in the country, absence of more trained consultants led to faulty treatment at the hands of medical students that enhanced miseries of patients even at state-of-the-art teaching hospitals. Hundreds of senior consultants were available but the government did not bother to take benefit from their knowledge and experience in treatment of dengue patients, lamented a doctor at a teaching hospital in the City. He further said that the government should have cancelled leaves of all teaching cadre doctors and those in other cities should have been asked to render services at hospitals in Lahore. But lack of interest on the part of health department officials and management of medical institutions deprived the dengue patients of proper treatment and care, he added. Now the government has realised the importance of senior consultants and made them duty bound to visit the dengue wards twice in a day and write notes on patients cards, he said, adding that cancellation of leaves of teaching staff on the outbreak of dengue could have reduced death toll in September.