Should Medical Councils try negligence !!!
In 1997 we all agreed for the constitution of Delhi Medical Council with an aim to maintain and update the register of the medical practitioners of Modern medicine in the Capital. This was to ensure that no unqualified person practices modern medicine without a legitimate degree in turn help to eradicate quackery.
Another objective of the Medical Council was to prescribe a code of ethics to regulate the professional conduct of the medical practitioners of capital and to reprimand a practitioner through disciplinary action on a violation of medical ethics.
It was also the duty of the Medical Council under the Act to provide protection to the practitioners in discharging their medical duties.
Any complaint against a medical practitioner could be enquired under the Act only through a disciplinary committee comprising of 6 members. The constitution of the committee includes one specialist in the field of specialty pertaining to the complaint and 5 other members of the society without any know-how whatsoever to understand the medical negligence in a case. The members of the committee are:-
- 1 MLA
- 1 Lawyer
- 1 Public Man
- 1 Association member
- 1 Specialist
Actually, this Committee is basically empowered to look into ethical issues and try misconduct. Unfortunately, the Medical Council in the past has undertaken an added responsibility to try the complaints of alleged medical negligence and punishing and humiliating a number of medical practitioners without a mandate.
Medical negligence is a matter of law to be settled in a civil or criminal court. In Supreme Court, I had myself contested a case of negligence on the behalf of the Delhi Medical Association. In Jacob Mathews's case the chief justice of India settled the issue with the final judgment that, only gross negligence can be tried by criminal law and less than gross negligence shall be civil suit eligible for only compensation.
By trying the case of medical negligence and punishing and fining the doctors the State Medical Council has opened a new law system giving the ultimate punishment of removing their name from the register.
No one person can be punished twice for the same offense. And once, a person has taken a course of asking compensation in a civil or criminal suit, he loses his right to go to another court.
I personally feel that there should be a strong debate - whether the council should undertake additional responsibility of doing a trial on the cases of negligence when the mandate is not clear. And if they take the responsibility of establishing the negligence and they find that negligence is not established, why Medical Council should not take punitive action against the complainant.
Thousands of doctors have been punished in the past by the council whereas not a single complainant has been punished by the act for filing a frivolous complaint though the act provides for the same.
In addition to this, the main purpose of the Act is to provide protection to the professionals while discharging their duties which has unfortunately been almost forgotten.
- We need protection for junior doctors against harassment in spite of their dedicated work.
- We need protection against physical assault against doctors.
- We need protection against frivolous complaints and haunting of consultants by greedy and disgruntled patients.
- We need protection for women doctors against gender bias at the workplace.
"We need protection for medical professionals while discharging their professional duties"
A new team of the governing body is going to be elected, which is going to provide new direction to the working of Council for the next 5 years. You have to elect members with strength, vision, and commitment to the profession so that the council can be made more responsible in the future.
I will request you to kindly vote for me at Ballot No. 31 and Team Suraksha!!!!
Voting On 8th March 2020 at IARI Pusa Road