SHILLONG, April 4 - A dentist here has stoked a controversy by prescribing whiskey to one of his patients battling withdrawal symptoms, at a time when only supply and sale of essential commodities have been allowed across the nation.
The dentist�s alcohol advice has drawn criticism from the medical fraternity, which said the idea was �unscientific� and �unethical�.
Dr B Purkayastha, who runs an oral health centre at Dhanketi area of the city, prescribed two bottles of whiskey to a 65-year-old man, who visited him on Friday � a day after the State Government rescinded an earlier order it had issued allowing home delivery of alcohol on doctor�s recommendation. The Government, however, did not cite any reason for withdrawing the order.
A similar move by the Kerala Government last month, in the midst of the lockdown, had also met with criticism from medical practitioners.
Purkayastha reasoned that the patient was finding it difficult to deal with his withdrawal symptoms.
�He (patient) is having difficulty sleeping. I advised him to consume alcohol in limited quantity to avoid health complications,� the dentist said.
According to his prescription, the sexagenarian was advised �not to drink more than 3 pegs (of whiskey) a day�.
Alcohol does not figure in the list of essential commodities that the Government had approved of during the lockdown, and almost all liquor vends were told to shut shop as a precautionary measure to avoid mass gatherings.
Condemning Purakayastha for prescribing whiskey, a general practitioner in Shillong said State Health authorities should take �necessary action against this unscientific and unethical move�. He also said that the government order, issued on March 30 � allowing home delivery of alcohol � which was withdrawn in a matter of three days, would go down in the annals of Meghalaya�s history.
Another psychiatrist here said, �Doctors have never been taught to prescribe alcohol. An alcoholic is a patient and if there are medical emergencies, there are also ways to deal with it.�
A rehab centre in Shillong, however, came out in support of Purakayastha and said tipplers might need alcohol to control withdrawal symptoms at times, and if denied, it could take a toll on their physical and mental well-being. � PTI