Over 746 cases of medical negligence recorded, but action taken against meagre number of doctors
In the past 10 years, over 746 cases of medical negligence have been recorded with the Medical Council of India (MCI), Maharashtra, but so far, only three doctors have been suspended in the state.
According to data gathered from MCI, complaints about medical negligence have seen a steady rise. In 2005, only 54 cases were registered which rose to 142 in 2014.
Also, the rate of disposal of cases has suffered a decline. In 2014, the council did not dispose of a single case whereas in 2013, out of a total of 107 cases registered, only 13 were decided upon.
So far, out of a total of 746 cases registered with the MCI, 595 cases are still pending. What’s more, there are medical negligence cases pending for more than 10 years, waiting for justice. Of the total 151 cases disposed of in the past 10 years, only three doctors have been punished. Dr Sandeep Jain and Dr Anil Pinto were punished by cancelling their registrations for a period of six months.
In the case of Dr Dhore Shrihari Abaji Patil, he was suspended for a mere three months. A 97-year-old Mumbai resident fought for more than a decade to get justice in a case of medical negligence against Dr Pinto that led to the death of his son. When The Asian Age met a few victims of medical negligence, most of them complained of bureaucratic apathy as the main cause of delay in disposing of such cases.
One Shreya Nimonkar said, “I have been fighting for five years to get justice. Once, when I went to submit my letter to MCI, they told me my case has been closed.
“They had not bothered to inform me in advance. They intentionally didn’t send me the letter so I got delayed in filing a complaint to the higher authority within the time frame of 90 days.”
A higher officer from MCI on condition of anonymity said, “In 80 per cent of the cases, due to lack of evidence, we can’t reach any solution. Medical negligence is a tricky subject that a common person fails to understand. This leads to many misunderstandings. So, we have to cross check all the claims and complaints of patients, as well as hear the doctors’ side.”
Patients said there was need for a forum where medical negligence victims could demand their rights. “During the hearing of cases, patients across the state are summoned in the morning.
“Then, the group of doctors starts eating their breakfast which ends after two hours. Finally, patients are summoned where the doctors hear their complaints. They don’t even ask any questions or introspect. It is just a show-off programme,” said Chandrakant Kulkarni, a patient.
When Shreya Nimonkar, a 43-year-old working mother was suffering from irregular period, a gynaecologist asked her to remove her uterus. During the operation, her kidneys were botched up. After a few months, her body started swelling up and it was discovered both her kidneys had failed. Shreya and Chandrakant have started a forum named ‘Forum for patients’ right for medical negligence’.http://www.asianage.com/mumbai/10-years-only-3-doctos-suspended-696
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