Doctors in the Dock
The gynaecologist in the nursing home had assured Dilip Sen, a Calcutta businessman, and his wife, Ira, that it was a routine test for infertility. Under general anaesthesia, a small incision would be made near her navel and a laparoscope introduced to check whether the Fallopian tubes wereblockedornot.Two hours later, the doctors came out and said Ir ahad died of cardiac arrest during the operation. An unconvinced Sen consulted experts and they suspect that the cause of death was faulty administration of anaesthesia.
Sen has now filed a case with the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission for Rs25 lakh as compensation from the hospital. He says: “My wife did not die. She was made to die.”
For years, the medical profession in India had neglected the warning symptoms. Shielded by flaccid regulatory authorities and a near comatose judicial system, the four lakh-strong community of doctors was almost immune to charges of malpractice.
Even when the problem grew to serious proportions, they failed to resort to corrective surgery. Now, aggrieved patients are beginning to wield the scalpel. Especially after a ruling made by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in April last year that medical services we reliable under the powerful Consumer Protection Act of 1986.