The following appeared in "Times of India", Mumbai Edition on February 18,2009, page no. 01.
May be useful for future references.
WELL ... Well ... well ... there goes phut several judgements of the Consumer Court which faulted doctors for their medical negligence. Let the doctors jump in glee and let them use their instruments like a very very bad cook.
SC says that the judges are not qualified in medical negligence cases (so it is in case of 540 members of the parliament, who pass such law bills) ... heeee .... heee... hee....
The express & implied presumption now is that SC can refrain from considering the general interest of the people (say democracy). In other words it is saturation of the judiciary. Hope the SC takes a trip to the USA & UK, to study the way medical negligence cases are handled and the millions of dollars being doled out to the litigants.
SC must sure love the doctors AND would be really believing the maxim that doctor are next to God. (hey RAM).
Medical Experts opinion must to prosecute Doctors : SC
In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court on Tuesday stepped in to check the harassment of doctors in medical negligence cases. A division bench of Justice Markandey Katju and Justice G S Singhvi held that consumer and criminal courts would have to seek the opinion of a doctor or a panel of doctors before issuing a notice to a medical practioner or hospital in a case alleging negligence.
The fresh guidelines set by the apex court stipulate that whenever a consumer forum or criminal court receives a complaint against a doctor, it should refer the matter to a panel of experts in the field. Only after the committee reports that there is a prima facie case of medical negligence should a notice be issued to the concerned doctor or hospital.
“This is necessary to avoid harassment to doctors who may not be ultimately found to be negligent,’’ the bench observed. It added, “The courts and consumer fora are not experts in medical science and must not hold their own views over those of specialists. It’s true that the medical profession has to an extent become commercialised and there are many doctors who depart from their Hippocratic oath for the selfish ends of making money. However, the entire medical fraternity cannot be blamed or branded as lacking in integrity or competence just because of some bad apples.’’
The court underscored that earlier guidelines required the police to seek medical opinion before registering an FIR.
Cops flouting medical case norms could face action: SC
Mumbai: The Supreme Court on Tuesday warned police officials against arresting or harassing doctors, and to follow existing guidelines that require the police to seek a medical opinion before registering an FIR in case of a complaint against a doctor.
“Otherwise the policemen will themselves have to face legal action,’’ said the judges. Under existing guildelines, arrest is permitted only if absolutely essential to investigation.
The matter before the court during Tuesday’s hearing pertained to a 17-year-old case filed by Delhi resident and senior Union commerce ministry officer Mohammad Ishfaq against a Mumbai-based doctor practising at Nanavati Hospital. Ishfaq, who suffered from chronic renal failure and was awaiting a kidney transplant, had undergone treatment for a brief period with physician Martin D’Souza for urinary tract infection and also blood infection. Ishfaq alleged that an overdose of theantibiotic Amikacin (prescribed to treat the infection) had led to hearing impairment. The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in 2002 awarded Ishfaq a compensation of Rs 7 lakh. The apex court, however, did not agree.
“Extraordinary situations require extraordinary remedies,’’ remarked the SC judges. “Even assuming that such a high dose of Amikacin would ordinarily lead to hearing impairment, the doctor was faced with a situation (where he had to choose) between the devil and the deep sea. If he chose to save the life of the patient rather than his hearing, surely he cannot faulted.’’
The court also emphasized the importance of a scientific temperament, pointing to the cases of the Iranian conjoined twins and the first heart transplant in South Africa which had ended in failure.
Closer home, the judges referred to research by AIIMS into stem cell therapy that had not yet resulted in notable success. “This does not mean that the work of stem cell therapy should stop, otherwise science cannot progress,’’ said the bench.
The judges also underlined two cardinal principles—one, that judges are laypersons and not experts in the medical sciences and two, that “like all professionals, doctors too can make errors of judgment. But if they are punished for this, no doctor can practise his vocation with equanimity’’.
Keep Smiling ... HemantAgarwal