Published: Monday, Nov 8, 2010, 2:22 IST
By Santosh Andhale | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

A team of doctors from JJ hospital which has the unenviable job of tasting food for visiting VIPs to ensure that it passes safety and hygiene tests, had no work during US president Barack Obama’s tour because the Americans had made their own arrangements.

As part of protocol, when top-level foreign government officials or state functionaries like presidents, vice- presidents or prime ministers visit the city, these resident medical officers (RMO) travel with the VIP convoy and taste their food.

Apart from the RMOs, a team comprising a surgeon, a physician and an anaesthetist also accompanies the VIP convoy to monitor the guest’s health and take care of medical emergencies.

The hospital appointed six doctors to work in three shifts starting from Obama’s arrival on Saturday afternoon to his departure for Delhi on Sunday, and to travel with him to every venue in between.

Though these doctors are usually provided accommodation at the venue were the VIP stays, during Obama’s visit, the doctors complained they were not put up at the Taj hotel. The team working the night shift slept in the ambulance.

A doctor who was part of the team said, “Protocol requires us to do this job every time there is a VIP visit and we cannot complain about it. We are not food experts and this job does not require doctors since you don’t need a medical degree to taste food.

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