The Indian Supreme Court has ruled that doctors can be sued for medical negligence in consumer courts set up under India's consumer protection act of 1986. The landmark judgment, delivered last week, caps the nine year old controversy over whether doctors providing medical services to patients on payment of fees can be held liable under this act. Responding to appeals by doctors against earlier judgments by state high courts, the Supreme Court ruled that patients aggrieved by deficiencies in medical services rendered for payment can claim damages
Should doctors be tried in consumer courts?
This issue requires much debate, a lot of questioning, also a lot of introspection. But before we do that, let me ask, why do we limit ourselves to consumer courts?? Why are we afraid to move to criminal courts if the quantum of crime is culpable enough to be tried only in criminal courts?? When I say this, I wish to emphasize on the point that doctors are after all human beings. They are bound to get carried away by pleasure of life, greed for money and desire for a lavish lifestyle. This may encourage the devils inside them, they may switch over to illegal activities, may mint quick money and fulfill their hiddendesires. Somebody, at this instance, may like to raise a point that doctors are human beings also when they are performing complex surgeries. They are bound to make small mistakes, forget a glove back in the stomach of a patient, inadvertently give a wrong injection, prescribe unknowingly a useless drug. Agreed!!! I don’t suggest harsh punishment for such situations. But I wish that we do not neglect this issue in totality and that too for two reasons. One, because if we allow a doctor to got scott free after leaving a surgical instrument into a patient’s abdomen, we are encouraging his carelessness. There is one in every chance that this mistake may repeat itself and the doctor will never repent for it. Another reason I discourage this practice is- A black...
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