Strengthening doctor-patient relations

Apropos of the editorial “Doctors are not criminals” (August 7), its concern for strengthening the bond of doctor-patient relationship is appreciable. This tender bond is eroding because the patient had been made “a consumer” and the medical practice “a commodity”.

The Supreme Court has rightly saved the honour of the medical profession by observing that doctors do not have criminal intent and hence, only “recklessness and deliberate wrong doing should be labelled as criminal, that too, after a high degree of proof”.

In the recent past, doctor bashing has become a national sport. Every mishap, misfortune and complication during medical treatment is projected as criminal negligence by the people, the police and the media. Emotionally disturbed relatives take legal recourse by harassing doctors out of revenge or extorting money.

The framers of the Constitution had given enough immunity to the doctors under Section 88 of IPC. It reads thus: “Nothing which is not intended to cause, or be known by the doer to cause, or be known by the doer to be likely to cause, to any person for whose benefit it is done in good faith, and who has given a consent whether express or implied, to suffer that harm, or to take the risk of that harm”.

The police and legal counsels turn a blind eye to this clause and take umbrage under the ambiguity of Sections 304, 304A to kill the doctor. Increasing commercialisation and lack of ethics are part of the total social decadence. Black sheep are bound to remain in every profession but the image of good doctors should not be tarnished.

Dr KULDIP SINGH, Former State President, Indian Medical Association (Punjab), Hoshiarpur




This is a historic ruling. Doctors always try to give the best possible treatment in the interest of their profession and practice. Still sometimes they can go wrong unintentionally.

The Consumer Forum should examine the false complaints made against the doctors dispassionately. Such complaints should be examined by a board of doctors before admitting the cases. One of the members of the forum should be a doctor, may be a civil surgeon, who should examine the genuineness of the complaint.

Dr PREM KUMAR, President, Indian Medical Association (Haryana), Panipat


I have been practising medicine for the last 45 years and have seen many ups and downs. I have seen the good old days when the patient-doctor relationship was at its best. A doctor was revered like God. The family physician was like a friend or adviser.

However, owing to commercialisation, this relationship gradually deteriorated and patients started suspecting the doctor’s intentions. Greater shock came after the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) was enacted and all doctors appeared to be Satan and all patients potential troublemakers to doctors. So, to save their skin, the emphasis got shifted to various investigations and not on the diagnostic skills or treatment.

I always maintain that the human body is made by God and doctors are just mechanics and not manufacturers. After the Supreme Court judgement, the medical fraternity has heaved a sigh of relief. Fears that the doctor will become negligent hereafter are unfounded. No doctor wants his/her patients to die. No one would like to spoil his/her image and lose patients. The judgement will help both the doctors and the people.

Dr TARA SAXENA, Shri Komal Hospital, Rewari


The editorial “Doctors are not criminals” has pushed back further the cause of the common man. It is true that doctors are not criminals, but crime can be committed by anyone.

Negligence leading to death is criminal under any law, but the Supreme Court judgement has provided quite a few shady doctors with cover. Leaving scissors or bandages in the stomach, leaving a patient unattended to after inducing anaesthesia, stealing of organs, taking commission for prescribing tests and medicine are not rare.

NARESH MAHAJAN, Sub-divisional Officer (Irrigation), Pathankot

Of migration & rising crime

Reports from Bathinda seem to prove the fears of many sections that with the influx of migrant labourers from the eastern provinces, the crime graph has risen in this region. The police do stress the need for verification of antecedents of domestic servants and reporting them the details of arrival and departure of tenants. However, the police do not conduct any regular survey on this. Why don’t they entrust this to some other agency if they are very busy with protocol and other duties?

Civic bodies are the best agencies to provide details on the prescribed format as they too need such information. More important, one cannot ignore the role of other categories like casual maids, street hawkers, kiosk operators and construction workers. These groups, together with some sales men/women at doorsteps are conduits of prior information about the activities of shady characters. It would be a hectic job for the government to register and monitor all of them.

It may be recalled that earlier the Agent of Jammu and Kashmir posted at Amritsar was looking after the problems of employment, law and order etc., of the Kashmiri labourers on their arrival in winter. A senior officer was posted there to liaise with their own state and the host state as well to register and monitor their people. Punjab would do well to revive the agent system after receiving information from Amritsar and Kashmir.



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