A group of 25 doctors representing the association met deputy commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh on Thursday to express their disapproval about the way medical negligence complaints were being handled and voice concern about the trust deficit this was causing between doctors and patients.
Since 2017, when the district medical negligence board was formed, 60 such complaints have been filed so far. Among those is a complaint filed by the father of Adya Singh, the seven-year-old girl who succumbed to dengue during treatment last year.
In a memorandum handed over to the deputy commissioner on behalf of the newly formed Association of Tertiary Healthcare Consultants, the doctors said it was “irresponsible and detrimental to society at large” if there was a trust deficit between patients and doctors. “Doctors will be pushed into practising defensive medicine, and concentrating more on documentation than actual patient care, an eventuality which will be tragic in both implementation and implication,” said the memorandum.
In the association are doctors from Fortis, Medanta, Paras, Columbia Asia, Max, Rockland and Artemis hospitals. They told the deputy commissioner that medical negligence complaints “are affecting the reputation of the fraternity” and private hospital doctors are being increasingly portrayed as “criminals” who would not think twice about inflating hospital bills.
The doctors also urged Singh to ensure details of an investigation against a doctor accused of medical negligence are not leaked to the media. “This has to stop as it’s affecting the reputation of private hospitals,” the doctors said in the memorandum.
“The deputy commissioner said he will take up the issue with the state health secretary. He will also speak to the police commissioner to ensure that doctors are treated properly after filing of an FIR in a medical negligence case,” said Rahul Bhargava, director of hematology at Fortis who was part of the delegation.
“After the arrest of the chief cardiologist and emergency medical officer of Fortis on April 13 on charges of medical negligence in the wake of the death of a patient, their photos were leaked to the media. Are they wanted criminals or rapists? It is not that we are not participating in the inquiry, this is no way to treat a doctor,” said Dr Sushila Kataria, director of internal medicines at Medanta.
Dr Neeraj Kumar, senior consultant of cardiology at Max hospital, added, “The doctor-patient trust factor has gone down rapidly. We try to give hope to critically ill patients and it is not possible to provide that hope without the trust. We are highly disturbed with the way the private hospital doctors are being treated by the police.”
Gurgaon’s chief medical officer Dr BK Rajora and principal medical officer Dr Pradeep Sharma were also present in the meeting. “Private hospital doctors were against any arrest in medical negligence cases. But as far as we are concerned, the medical negligence board will conduct its inquiries on negligence complaints,” Dr Rajora told TOI later.