Medico-legal, ethical issues come into focus

The morbid indifference of some private hospitals in extending primary emergency treatment to accident victims has drawn flak from the doctors community in the city. The recent death of two accident victims under such circumstances have brought various medico-legal and ethical issues, involved in treating accident victims, on the fore. "It is mandatory for private hospitals and doctors to extend timely medical aid in an emergency, especially in case of road accidents. It is enshrined in the Constitution and reiterated by the Supreme Court (SC) of India time and again,” said surgeon Subhash Behere, secretary of the medico-legal cell of IMA. With regard to the case, the Supreme Court held that every doctor whether at a government hospital or otherwise has the professional obligation to extend his services with due expertise for protecting life, said Behere. It has been clearly stated by SC that a doctor should not be harassed by lawyers and police if an accident victim succumbs to injuries while undergoing essential primary treatment. Again, the SC has also stated that whoever brings the victim to the hospital should not be harassed by the police, Behere added. Private hospitals are reluctant to treat emergency cases, especially road accidents cases, as they do not wish to get entangled in medico-legal cases. Orthopedic surgeon Parag Sancheti, director of Sancheti Institute of Orthopedic Research stressed that unless a patient is fully stabilised, he should not in any case be shifted to another hospital. Another major ground on which a private hospital refuses to admit an accident victim is the blame of theft that an unescorted victim might charge on the hospitals after being stabilised. To this, Behere said the doctors should maintain a record of valuables in the presence of hospital in-charge of the police. By Ms.Bobby Aanand, Metropolitan Jury.
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Source : The Times of India, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Pune/Medico-legal_ethical_issues_come_into_focus/articleshow/3216647.cms
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