The Medical Council of India’s (MCI) Ethics Committee has decided to “strike off the name of Ram Charan Thiagarajan from the Indian Medical Register as well as from the Register of State Medical Council for a period of one year.” The doctor is a transplant surgeon at the Fortis Hospital on Bangalore’s Bannerghatta Road.

The decision is in response to a complaint filed by Major Pankaj Rai (retd.), who said the hospital’s negligence and malpractice led to the death of his wife, Seema Rai (44), who was admitted there in May 2010. The decision will come into effect from the day the order is formally issued, which is expected soon.

Septic shock

Ms. Rai underwent kidney and pancreas transplant procedures on May 2, 2010, and died four days later of septic shock. Maj. Rai alleged that the hospital had neither taken his consent for the pancreas transplant nor did it have the licence to do the complicated procedure.

Although Maj. Rai had complained to the Karnataka Medical Council (KMC), it gave a clean chit to the hospital and the surgeon in June 2011. The bereaved husband then moved the MCI against the KMC order.

The MCI Ethics Committee, in its meeting on October 27, 2011, (the minutes of which were posted on its official website only on February 6 this year after an approval from the Board of Governors) has also ruled that Dr. Thiagarajan had violated the Indian Medical Council regulations.

It said he had operated in a hospital not licensed for a pancreas transplant. He had failed to take informed consent for the entire procedure of kidney and pancreas transplant surgery, it said, and asked the State Health Department to take suitable action against the hospital also.

Hospital’s response

Responding to the MCI’s decision, a Fortis spokesperson said: “We have not yet received any communication from the MCI. We shall examine it once it is received and will take appropriate action.”

Maj. Rai said though he was vindicated by the MCI decision, he said the quantum of punishment does not match the seriousness of the offence. He plans to approach the High Court seeking more severe punishment.