AIIMS Gynaecologist provides IVF patient’s eggs to 2 other patients sans Consent: NMC overturns Delhi Medical Council suspension order, awards warning
New Delhi: An AIIMS Gynaecologist who was suspended by the Delhi Medical Council for providing the fertilised eggs of 1 IVF patient to 2 other patients without the necessary consent in the year 2017, has now received a major relief from the apex medical regulator of India, National Medical Commission (NMC). Noting that the doctor has contributed immensely to the field of reproductive medicine...
New Delhi: An AIIMS Gynaecologist who was suspended by the Delhi Medical Council for providing the fertilised eggs of 1 IVF patient to 2 other patients without the necessary consent in the year 2017, has now received a major relief from the apex medical regulator of India, National Medical Commission (NMC).
Noting that the doctor has contributed immensely to the field of reproductive medicine and she provided the eggs to the other patients in their best interest and that so, without any personal gain, the NMC overturned the suspension order issued by the Delhi Medical Council (DMC) and let off the doctor with a warning.
"In spite of the fact that the act in question was done in good faith to benefit the poor patients without accruing any personal gain, it cannot be denied that prevailing guidelines were violated. So, the doctor is warned to be more careful in future," the NMC warning issued on July 18th read.
The Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at AIIMS was suspended by the Delhi Medical Council for a month after the disciplinary committee found the doctor guilty of being involved in an illegal and unethical act violating the guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
According to the recent media accounts on the matter, the incident was reported to the Medical Council in August 2017 while its order came in September last year suspending the doctor’s license for one month. The NMC warning comes after the doctor moved an appeal to the commission against the medical council order.
The DMC received a complaint about the incident through the Public Grievance Monitoring System that 30 eggs were retrieved from the patient on August 12, 2017, for an In vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure. “Of these, 14 were taken by the doctor from the embryologist and provided those to two patients without the consent of the woman,” Dr Girish Tyagi, the secretary of DMC stated while speaking to PTI about the case.
The doctor was also accused of withholding the information from the two patients to whom she provided the eggs, reports the New Indian Express.
A disciplinary committee of the Delhi Medical Council investigated the complaint, following which, the council observed that "sharing a patient's eggs/oocytes is not only illegal, as sharing/donation of such nature is prohibited as per the ICMR guidelines, but also unethical, moreover, when no written consent of the donor as well as recipient as per the guidelines have been made available to the Delhi Medical Council."
The AIIMS, in its internal enquiry report dated August 30, 2017, also highlighted the lapses committed by the doctor.
It was also complained to the Medical Council that the doctor was originally appointed to the Department of Reproductive Biology and then transferred to the gynaecology department against the recruitment rules.
As per the PTI report, the doctor claimed before the medical council that since both her patients had multiple failed IVF cycles in the past, she shared the eggs in the best interest and helped the recipients without compromising the outcome of the patient from whom the eggs were taken.
While confirming the decision of the disciplinary Committee, the medical council observed that in light of the gravity of the lapse committed by the doctor, the punishment of warning awarded by the disciplinary committee "will not serve the interest of justice".
"Hence, the council directs that punishment awarded be enhanced and the name of the doctor be removed from State Medical Register of the Delhi Medical Council for a period of 30 days," the DMC stated in its September 19, 2022, order, quotes PTI.
Aggrieved by the medical council’s action, the doctor then appealed to the NMC on October 3 seeking the quashing of the suspension order.
"The committee under the DMC failed to differentiate the bona fide case of egg sharing granted in ICMR guidelines followed at that time with allegations of clandestine stealing of eggs made in the anonymous complaint… The complex procedure of egg retrieval, fertilisation and sharing was done by the entire IVF team in consultation with all stakeholders, including the treating physician and was recorded in the lab documents in a transparent manner known to all," the doctor had said in her appeal to the NMC, further quotes the PTI in its report.
To deliberate on the case, the Ethics and Medical Registration Board (EMRB) of the National Medical Commission held a meeting on October 18, last year, and accepted the appeal while granting a stay on the Delhi Medical Council order.
Following an enquiry by the board and a hearing on May 24, the NMC has let off the doctor with a warning.
While speaking to the New Indian Express, DMC secretary Dr Girish Tyagi, however, mentioned that for the same offence, the medical licence of a private practitioner could have been revoked for six months to a year.
Garima joined Medical Dialogues in the year 2017 and is currently working as a Senior Editor. She looks after all the Healthcare news pertaining to Medico-legal cases, MCI/DCI decisions, Medical Education issues, government policies as well as all the news and updates concerning Medical and Dental Colleges in India. She is a graduate from Delhi University and pursuing MA in Journalism and Mass Communication. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org Contact no. 011-43720751