‘Formulate sentencing policy for erring docs’

The Delhi High Court has directed the Medical Council of India (MCI) to formulate a policy on punishment for ‘delinquent’ doctors within three months.

“The MCI must have a sentencing policy in place for guidance of its committees, which are tasked with giving recommendations on the guilt and punishment to be accorded to a delinquent doctor,” Justice Rajiv Shakdher said.

“The sentencing guidelines should take into account the aggravating and mitigating circumstances, including but not limited to whether or not the delinquent doctor is a first time offender or a repeat offender,” he noted.

The High Court was hearing an appeal filed by Ravi Rai challenging the decision of the MCI regarding two doctors of Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, in a case of medical negligence for operating on his wrong leg.

It awarded ₹1 lakh as compensation to Mr. Rai, which will be borne by Ashwani Maichand, one of the supervising doctors.

On June 19, 2016, Mr. Rai had slipped on some stairs and injured his legs and lower back. He was brought to Fortis Hospital and registered as a patient under the supervision of Dr. Maichand and Rahul Kakran.

A diagnostic X-ray was done on Mr. Rai’s right foot, following which he was told that his right leg was fractured and he would have to undergo surgery. Based on the advice given by Dr. Maichand, Mr. Rai underwent physiotherapy twice.

The record (X-ray), however, showed that though Mr. Rai had fractured his spine, information of this was not given to the patient. “Given this situation, perhaps, physiotherapy was not the right course of treatment. Mr. Rai, in fact, should have been advised to take complete bed rest,” the High Court said.

Despite Mr. Rai having fractured his spine, he was administered anaesthesia. Later, when Mr. Rai recovered from anaesthesia, he discovered that instead of his right foot, his left foot had been operated upon. The surgeon, Dr. Kakran, had inserted screws in Mr. Rai’s left foot.

The Delhi Medical Council had accepted the findings of its Disciplinary Committee and recommended that the names of the two doctors be removed from the State Medical Register of the DMC for 180 days. The MCI, however, later exonerated Dr. Maichand on the ground that he was absent on the day of the surgery, but reiterated the view of the DMC with respect to Dr. Kakran.

The HC, however, quashed the MCI’s decision on Dr. Maichand and directed it to hear the case afresh.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 9:18:37 PM |

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