Kerala

Unhealthy trend in emergency medicine

Illegitimate master’s courses in emergency medicine (MEM), run mostly by major corporate hospitals and doctors with unrecognised qualifications practising as Emergency Medicine (EM) specialists, have emerged as a major concern in the State.

The Emergency Medicine Association (EMA), the organisation of specialists holding recognised degrees, has sought the intervention of the Indian Medical Association and the Travancore Cochin Medical Council (TCMC) to put an end to this trend.

The EMA has provided the TCMC with a list of hospitals running the unrecognised MEM course as well as the names of 50-odd doctors holding unrecognised qualifications, yet practising as EM specialists, for action.

There are only two EM courses in the country recognised by the Medical Council of India (MCI) – the MD Emergency Medicine (since 2009) and the DNB Emergency Medicine (since 2014) of the National Board of Examination (NBE). .

The MCI, through public notices, has been warning since 2016 that none of the other courses have recognition . It has also warned students not to enrol for such courses.

“Many of these courses, which were initially run as certificate/fellowship programmes, were later converted as three-year MEM courses, some in partnership with foreign programmes, charging huge fee. Lured by the promise of a PG degree in an emerging speciality, many young MBBS graduates have fallen for it,” an EMA representative said.

In most corporate hospitals, the emergency division is staffed by these so-called specialists/ consultants in EM, graduating from the MEM course they run.

Since 2014 many of the corporate hospitals running the MEM and diploma courses are concurrently running the legitimate DNB courses also. The faculty for the DNB course are those holding the unrecognised degrees.

EMA stance

The EMA points out that this is not just unethical but that it has affected the academic quality of the legitimate DNB course in many institutions.

Most alarming is the fact that many self-financing private medical colleges in the State too have now started offering MEM degrees to unsuspecting students.

“The TCMC has taken note of the issue raised by the EMA and we will be sending notices to all the doctors mentioned in the complaint,” a member of the TCMC said.

“The doctors holding MEM degrees can work in casualty rooms but they cannot claim themselves to be EM specialists,” he added.

“This is an unhealthy trend. For corporate hospitals are running MEM courses, it is just a way of obtaining cheap labour to work in casualty wings. The IMA’s working committee will meet soon and discuss the issue,” IMA State president N. Sulphi said.


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Printable version | Aug 4, 2022 4:51:21 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/unhealthy-trend-in-emergency-medicine/article24422331.ece