Saturday, July 12, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


Trust between doctors and patients a must

APROPOS of the editorial “Doctors and patients” (July 4), your concern for strengthening the bond of doctor-patient relationship is appreciable and needs to be followed up. This relationship is like a religious faith. There are no why's and how's in this. This bond is eroding since when the patient had been declared as a ‘consumer’ and medical practice a commodity.

The medicine is an incomplete science and its inherent risks will have to be taken. The moment something goes wrong, the worshiper becomes a tormentor and the savior is labeled a murderer. Doctor bashing has become a national sport.

Rash and negligent act of a medical professional cannot be juxtaposed with that of a truck driver. An ASI level police official is made to pass judgment over the negligence of a highly reputed doctor having score of degrees and years of experience. More often than not, the police books the doctor to avoid mob fury. The relatives get sadistic pleasure by harassing the doctor out of revenge or extorting money. We agree that the guilty should not go scot free but every case of hospital death does not amount to slamming Sections 304/ 304A.



We are open to scrutiny. To allay the common fear of favoritism, the Indian Medical Association has suggested to the Punjab Government to constitute a district-level committee consisting of a SP rank police officer, District Attorney, a social worker, IMA president and a doctor of the specialty concerned to look into all complaints of rash and negligent act against doctors before registering a case. This will strengthen the fabric of doctor-patient relation and enable the doctors to work with a free mind. The Kerala Government has taken the lead in issuing such a notification. Other states should follow.

Drop in the level of ethics is the part of the total social decadence in India. Doctors cannot be singled out. Materialism is the order of the day and medical professionals are also humans to be swayed by the lure for lucre. It needs a halt at all levels. It is a process not to be implemented by any law but inner voice. Let us all join to build a healthy and ethical society.

Dr KULDIP SINGH, President Indian Medical Association (Punjab), Chandigarh


If everything goes well, the doctor is described as only next to God but if some complication develops in spite of the best efforts of the doctor, he is dragged to the Consumer Protection Court. A number of complaints have been filed against doctors for alleged negligence every day.

Medical complications fall mainly under three categories: One, personal loss or injuries due to inherent risk in diagnosis and surgical procedures. Two, loss due to imperfection in diagnostic or surgical procedure. And three, those involving criminal negligence supported by prime facie evidence as amputating the left leg instead of right or leaving behind a pair of scissors in the body during surgery. Only the cases involving the criminal negligence supported by prime facie evidence should be brought under the Consumer Protection Act (CPA).

However, if some loss or damage has been caused due to inherent risks or complications due to imperfection during diagnostic or surgical procedure, these cases should be kept out of the purview of the CPA. These should be dealt with Medical Councils. In a few cases, the complaints are being filed just to extract money from the doctors. In case of false complaints, strict action should be taken against the complainant.

No case against the doctors should be registered under Section 304 on mere complaint of the relations. Deaths will occur in the hospitals, even after the best efforts of the treating doctors. Such complaints should be referred to medical councils and the expert committee before any case is registered.

If the trend of registering case under Section 304 is continued, medical professionals would start defensive practice and no one will take complicated or emergency cases. It is in the interest of the public and doctors that mutual trust be maintained and the Indian Medical Association should do everything possible to maintain the mutual trust.

Dr D.S. JASPAL, Past President (IMA), Ambala


The reputation of a doctor gets eroded when the media carries reports based on allegations. The media has become the big brother for everybody today. Even for personal problems, the help of the media is being sought. Reputation is the main asset of a doctor. The media should do some investigation and exercise restraint while reporting on professionals.

Dr S.K. JINDAL, Muktsar


MBBS counselling

Apropos of your report “MBBS, BDS counselling put off” ( June 24), I would like to clarify certain facts. Counselling for MBBS/BDS had been postponed not due to the inspection of the Institute by the team of the Medical Council of India ( MCI) but due to the counselling of MBBS/BDS by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) from June 18 to 28. As the dates coincided, the counselling was postponed.

Dr (Maj- Gen) Virendra Singh, the present Director of this Institute, had his training in the Department of Anaesthesia, PGIMER, Chandigarh, and was awarded the postgraduate degree in anaesthesia in September 1974 by Panjab University, Chandigarh. The degree is recognised by the Medical Council of India ( MCI) and is included in the “Schedule to the Indian Medical Council Act 1956 amended up to September 1995.”

I would also like to clarify that the Director was appointed by the Haryana Government in April 2002 after confirming his eligibility for the post from the Medical Council of India, as per the Haryana Medical Education Services (HMES) rules, 1988.

Further, degrees obtained before 1985 do not need the recognition of the MCI and the issue seems to have been raised as a result of some mala fide intention.

Dr ( Brig) S.C Anand, Principal, Dental College, Rohtak, has been given extension in service by the state government due to non-availability of teachers in the specialty concerned. “The queries raised by the Dental Council of India are being answered and this is the normal process.”


Our Correspondent replies:
I stand by my report.

Deadline must for power reforms

Mr Gajendra Haldea's proposals on power sector reforms are proposed to be implemented by the government. In his article (June 10), he has stated that these reforms will ensure “better supply at cheaper rates for the consumer”. However, as Mr Haldea has not mentioned any timeframe for achieving these objectives, there are doubts as to when these objectives will be achieved.

We would request Mr Haldea through these columns to let the people of Punjab know as to when will the consumer actually benefit from these reforms.

As rightly pointed out in your editorial (July 8), what matters is performance and not promises.



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