March 1, 2024


Truth Triumphs

Medical Negligence in India

The Negligence speaks for itself.

Doctors are not Gods!

GUEST COLUMN: Dr. N. Prabhudev

Bengaluru, Feb. 27: Not Gods all right! But Let us be humans first and always! Medicine is a noble Profession, but Healthcare has become a Business. There is no profession worthier than medicine. There is no calling more sacred. Humanity suffers in the hands of big businesses and corporate hospitals.

Patients are not monuments of disease. The patient is a human being, worried and hopeful, searching for relief. The patient narrates a story- his perception of the symptoms.

The practice of medicine is an art but has become a business. Physicians are now providers. Profits decide health care policy. Responsibility for patient care is now diffused among multiple providers. Hence no one is accountable. Patients are confused and there is trust deficit. Malpractice litigations have grown so dramatically.

The slightest mistake made by a doctor can have life-altering effects on the patients. Public awareness of medical negligence in India is growing.  Negligence is the breach of a legal duty to care- carelessness in a matter in which the law mandates carefulness. The physician has the knowledge of new advances and discoveries in his field and gives essential care to the Patients.

To all my patients- Please seek medical help before it is too late! Please don’t humiliate us by killing yourself before we can save your life. You expect to be healed. Many come late and pay the price – at times death! The burden of proof of negligence, carelessness, or insufficiency generally lies with the complainant. The law requires a higher standard of evidence than otherwise, to support an allegation of negligence against a doctor.

Malpractice cases-

•        related to death- 30 %

•        related to serious injuries 36%

•        related to misdiagnosis or botched up surgeries 34%

Around 52 lakh medical injuries are recorded every year. 98,000 people lose their lives in a year because of medical negligence. It is really a serious concern. 10 people fall victim to medical negligence every minute and more than 11 people die every hour due to medical errors.

We “practice” medicine. Uncertainty lies at the heart of what physicians do on a daily basis.

A doctor is not an insurer for the patient. So inability to cure the patient would not amount to negligence. But carelessness resulting in adverse condition or deterioration health of the patient because of the treatment rendered would amount to negligence. Progression of the disease does not make the doctor liable.

The self-regulatory standards in the profession have shown a decline and this can be attributed to the overwhelming Impact of commercialization of the sector. There are reports against doctors of exploitative medical practices, misuse of diagnostic procedures, brokering deals for sale of human organs, etc.

The media has always looked at doctors with a jaundiced vision. Doctors trust patients less too due to fear of litigation. Doctors are forced to practice Defensive medicine- With increasing lawsuits and violence, doctors will be forced to document more than you diagnose and treat.

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