Kerala

TCMC censures 11 doctors

The Travancore Cochin Council of Modern Medicine (TCMC) has censured 11 doctors registered under it for violating the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002, by allowing themselves to be featured prominently in the advertisement of a corporate hospital in which they were working.

The incident is said to be unprecedented in the history of the TCMC.

It was in May last year that Aster MIMS, Kozhikode, brought out a newspaper advertisement prominently featuring some of its doctors, along with their photographs and details on their specialties.

The matter had been brought to the attention of the Registrar of the TCMC for “appropriate action” by K.V. Babu, a Kerala-based physician and public health activist.

Against Code of Ethics

Dr. Babu had taken exception to the advertisement featuring doctors because Section 6.1 of the Code of Ethics states that “...a physician shall not make use of him/her (or his/her name) as subject of any form or manner of advertising or publicity through any mode either alone or in conjunction with others... as to invite attention to him or to his professional position, skill, qualification...”

He had pointed out that while corporate hospitals were free to advertise their facilities and services, they could not advertise their services making use of the photographs and details of the doctors under their employment. Doctors should be aware of these provisions in the Code of Ethics, he contended.

Moreover, the TCMC itself had in 2018 brought out a circular that the council will be forced to take suo motu action against doctors if in violation of the Code of Ethics, they display their photographs in any hospital bill boards or advertisements. The council had then issued a warning that unless doctors removed their names and photographs from advertisements, there would be punitive action, including removal of their names from the State Medical Register.

Explanation

Following Dr. Babu’s complaint, the Ethics Committee of the TCMC had sought an explanation from the doctors . The doctors, while apologising for the ethics violation they had committed, said that their names and photographs had been used in the advertisement by the hospital without their knowledge or consent. The advertisement was only to inform the public about the new services and facilities available at the hospital, they contended.

Following the recommendation of the ethics committee, TCMC has now closed the matter after issuing a censure notice to all 11 doctors and warning them that such a mistake should not happen again.

“I am happy that the council took cognisance of the complaint and has exercised its powers properly by censuring the doctors. The Code of Ethics is binding on the doctors alone and not hospitals. Hence it is up to the doctors to know what constitutes an ethics violation and ensure that their employer too is made aware of it,” Dr. Babu said.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 12:24:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/tcmc-censures-11-doctors/article30684436.ece

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