Doc­tors in the Dock

India Today - - MAIL - by Raj Chengappa

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.

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