Act on unethical medical practices: Consumer panel to govt

Worried over unethical medical practices adopted by some doctors, a consumer forum has asked Medical Council of India and Centre to identify such black sheep.

Updated: Apr 14, 2013, 10:21 AM IST

New Delhi: Worried over unethical medical practices adopted by some doctors, a consumer forum has asked the Medical Council of India and the Centre to "identify such black sheep" and take steps to restore faith of the people in the profession.

The East District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum made the suggestion to the MCI and the government while directing city-based Pushpanjali Medical Centre and its two doctors to pay Rs 1.5 lakh to a patient for trying to extend her stay in the clinic by incorrectly diagnosing stones in her gall bladder and advising her to get operated.

"The case in hand is a glaring example of how doctors today try to prolong hospitalisation so as to earn more," a bench presided by NA Zaidi said, adding that such doctors "ordinarily should not be allowed" to practice.

"Since it is not our jurisdiction we can only suggest to the MCI to take note of the prevailing atmosphere in medical profession and identify such black sheep who are responsible for creating an impression in the public mind that they (public) are the object of being milked by greedy doctors.”

"The government should also take steps to restore back faith in the mind of the public... And to protect patients from unscrupulous medical practitioners who don`t have regard for ethics and the Hippocratic oath," the bench said.

"In view of the above, we hold respondents (the clinic, Dr Mukesh Kaushal and Dr Gaurav Aggarwal) guilty of unethical medical practice. Complainant has been traumatised, she needs to be compensated by respondents. We award compensation of Rs 1.5 lakh to her including cost of litigation," it added.

The forum`s order was passed on the complaint of Delhi- resident Neeta Kapoor who had gone to Pushpanjali Medical Centre for removal of her uterus. After her surgery, Dr Kaushal had informed the patient that her ultrasound report showed gallstones and advised her to undergo an operation to remove them, she had alleged.

However, an ultrasound test from another clinic revealed that there were no gallstones, she had said.

The medical centre and the doctors said they had made the diagnosis as per the picture in the ultrasound report.

The forum rejected their contention, saying Dr Kaushal reported the presence of the gallstones "with an intention to earn more from the patient" and Dr Aggarwal was "equally responsible" for causing tension and trauma to the woman.

It also went on to observe that nowadays "doctors are performing surgeries when the patient need none".

The forum further said if a patient is insured or he comes from a public sector company or is a CGHS beneficiary or a government servant protected under the rules for his/her treatment and gets reimbursed for his treatment, then "unnecessarily tests and diagnostic procedures are done even in cases where the patient requires no such test".