oppn parties The Need for Prevention of Medical Negligence Act

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  • MS Dhoni decides to take a two-month break, will skip West Indies tour but will not retire
  • Phagu Chauhan is the new Governor of Bihar while Ramesh Bais has been appointed as that of Tripura
  • Governors: Anandiben Patel shifted from Madhya Pradesh to Uttar Pradesh and Lalji Tandon from Bihar to Madhya Pradesh
  • Naga talks interlocutor RN Ravi appointed as Governor of Nagaland
  • Noted lawyer Jagdeep Dhankhar appointed as new Governor of West Bengal
  • 84 NDRF teams have been despatched to 23 states to tackle the flood situation
  • Three persons lynched in Bihar after being accused of cattle theft
  • Delhi police seize a consignment of 1500 kgs of heroin and busts a cartel of Afghanistan-Pakistan narcotics dealers with links to the Taliban
  • Supreme Court gives 9 more months to complete the Babri Masjid demolition case trial
  • Priyanka Gandhi not allowed to meet the families of the dead in the Sonabhadra firing, arrested
  • ICC inducts Sachin Tendulkar in [email protected]@@s Hall of Fame
  • Stock markets bleed for the second day. Sensex crashes 560 points
  • S Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs, says Pakistan should release and repatriate Kulbhushan Jadhav immediately
  • Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala asks the Speaker to hold the trust vote latest by 1.30 pm today
  • The Government sends a list of 24 questions to mobile app company that runs video app TikTok seeking answers for anti-national and obscene content carried on the platform
Former Delhi CM and senior Congress leader Sheila Dikshit dies following a cardiac arrest. She was 81
oppn parties
The Need for Prevention of Medical Negligence Act

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Private nursing homes and hospitals carry out a systematic exploitation of patients in the name of providing state of the art healthcare. Patients and their families are kept in the dark about the procedures being followed. They are also not provided with any detailed information on the daily care provided to the patient. Yet, they are billed for the most trivial of things. Most such healthcare institutions have in-house diagnostic facilities and pharmacies. Doctors attached to such institutions often prescribe unnecessary tests and pharmacies charge in full for all medicines despite the trade norm of providing discounts up to 16 percent to buyers in general stand-alone or chain pharmacies. No detailed account of medicines used is ever provided to families of patients. In short, bills are bloated at all stages of consultation, diagnosis and treatment. All this, coupled with charges of medical negligence, shows that the operational state of private healthcare in the country is in a mess. Profit is the sole motive and corners are cut at all times. Despite the gloss and spick & span exteriors, there exists a dark and obnoxious underbelly (as exposed in the kidney scandal at the Hiranandani Hospital recently) in most such institutions which is seldom exposed as the largesse is spread about in a lucrative and judicious way to seal mouths on the one hand and the secretive nature of operations on the other.

These things are happening because there are no set procedures, standard guidelines or disclosure norms that these institutions are expected to follow, legally or otherwise. Medicine not being an exact science, hospitals and doctors often escape legal scrutiny as there can often be more than one line of diagnosis and treatment for the same disease and it is difficult to pass judgment on which is better. Taking this into consideration, the Supreme Court has asked the Medical Council of India, the Centre and the states to draft detailed guidelines to stop the exploitation of patients at such private medical institutions. Specifically, the apex court has asked for guidelines for treatment and care being provided in ICU’s and CCU’s across the country. In the name of providing intensive or critical care, hospitals bill exorbitant amounts to the patient while it is seen that no details are provided. Often, a single nurse is provided for up to four beds in the ICU ward, which is dangerous. Machines are not monitored round the clock by a dedicated staffer and things are taken too casually. If guidelines exist and records are maintained and provided, it will be much easier to pinpoint charges of medical negligence. This is what the hospitals do not want and that is why they always try to obfuscate matters. While it is good that the Supreme Court is goading the medical watchdog and the government into action on this, it shows our lawmakers in poor light that they have allowed private healthcare to go unregulated in this regard for so long, despite cases of medical negligence coming up in large numbers before the consumer disputes tribunals and the courts regularly. There is definitely a need for a detailed Prevention of Medical Negligence Act in the country to put a check on dubious medical facilities and shady doctors who help them.