Mumbai, 11th December 2014.
Even before I begin with this rather heated topic, I’d like to clearly state that over here by presenting the following post to you’ll I’m under no circumstances being unfair to any medical professional or rather the medical fraternity as a whole. I’m by means of the post which is to follow trying to generate awareness about such practices which are getting highly prevalent in modern developed, under-developed as well as undeveloped countries. My intention here is not to blame all the medical professionals but a percent of them due to which people are losing trust in doctors. Over here I’m to tell about that strata of the medical fraternity who take patients as their business, my intention is not to hurt the emotions of people who are connected to the medical background but to get people aware of what I, myself have witnessed as cases of sheer medical negligence. I’m sure the medical fraternity is working wonders for people, apart from that one percent who are making it worse.
How could I ever forget the frightful night of 9th December, 2014. I had finished my semester exams that afternoon, and had been resting all day later finally breathing a sense of relief. My phone rang and read “Seema Gandhi”, who happens to be my neighbor and a close friend in need, I was appalled, never had she called me at that point of time in the night, provided it wasn’t an emergency. I picked up and to my dismay she was wailing and weeping rather badly, I asked her what the matter was.. She told me, ” Hardii… Kevin’s father has got a massive heart attack, and we’re in **** nursing home, Please you’ll come here..” and the disconnected the call. It came as a shock because that day itself her husband had returned from his business tour, had been for an outing with their toddler and upon returning this happened. Nevertheless we rushed to nursing home, it was upsetting seeing her mourning for her husband because they had a five year old baby boy, she being just 32, but from a very rural and undeveloped village of India, her husband, being the only earning member is about 50 years of age. she can not speak or understand general English, and had been tensed since there was no future of their baby without her husband.
Upon asking the nurse as to where the doctor was, she began by saying that, “Doctor will be coming in the next 20 minutes”, again shocked as we were, because there had to be a doctor on duty, the patient needed immediate medical assistance, he could’ve suffered badly had it not been the doctor of Seven Hills Hospital Mumbai. Upon asking the doctor at the nursing home as to how the patient was now, the Doctor replied that he was critical and had to spent at least four days out there, we felt something fishy, also Since it was a small nursing home with no better facilities at availability, we decided to shift him to another hospital which though far, had a good reputation at its honor.Upon knowing that we have called an ambulance along with a doctor from Seven Hills Hospital, the doctor at the nursing home had a different story to offer all together. He said, “Why did you’ll call another doctor? I mean we can discharge him by tomorrow, he’s all good and in a good state now.” It was something extremely weird, the doctor was changing colors all too soon. In about 20 minutes an ambulance from Seven Hills arrived and the doctor rushed inside to check the patient. He then had a heated argument with the doctor of the nursing home because he had not provided any treatment yet. A patient who just got a massive heart attack had not been treated since the past hour. The doctor didn’t seem to have a logical explanation as to why had the right treatment not been given. Without wasting much of time, we shifted to Seven Hills, at about 1:00 in the night. Quick action was taken over there, doctors were ready, the patient was treated by Dr. Madhusudan Yemel, nurses were all very supportive, and within an hour the right treatment had been given, with minimal charges.
Now, by stating the above case which I’ve witnessed with my own eyes, I’m meaning to convey the message of medical negligence or medical malpractice. “Medical malpractice is professional negligence by act or omission by a health care provider in which the treatment provided falls below the accepted standard of practice in the medical community and causes injury or death to the patient, with most cases involving medical error.”
Now, I think my title is very much justified, The patient’s life surely does hang in the balance, We’re dependent on the doctor’s to save our respective lives and some of them are proving us wrong. In India, lacks and lacks of such cases take place every year, wherein the patient dies either because the doctor wasn’t available at the hospital or because he’s prescribed a wrong medication or many many more such reasons to be counted. Sometimes it happens also due to negligence of nurses. To cite my own case, when my mother had been pregnant, there were some complications and hence some injection had to be given to her, amount of which was to be 0.1, the nurse in negligence gave it as 1.0. As a result, my mother went into coma, only waking up after seven hours. I hope everyone understands how dangerous it is for someone to slip into coma. Something like this cannot be taken for granted, I totally understand that humans make mistakes but this was more. These days doctors are doing it as a business, of earning more money, wherein if the patient would stay in the hospital for more days, and hence it being profitable to the hospitals and fellow nursing homes. Hospitals and nursing homes are now signing contracts wherein it’s a deal between the doctor and them that if the doctor gets a patient he gets X amount of money, if the doctor is successful in keeping the patient for more than 2 days, he gets Y amount of money. Like, what was that? They think it’s something good? hell no. Many people are aware of this racket but few have the guts to stand up against this. Why? why are people this weak ? when it comes to gossiping about what a certain person went through and what wrong had been practiced with that person, everyone takes an active part, but when asked to take action against such malpractices no one is at hand.
My uncle who owns a recognized laboratory, was discussing with me that now on a trend has taken over, that being of the labs providing reports to patients of whatever the doctor says. Simply amazing.! I’m happy that at least there are various laws in India against such crimes. Fortunately, doctors, nurses, and hospitals make mistakes in a small number of cases. But within that small minority of cases, certain types of errors crop up more often than others.
There are many different ways you or someone you know can be seriously injured as a result of medical malpractice. The following are several examples of the ways an individual can die or be seriously injured due to medical malpractice:
- Bacterial infections
- Birth injury
- Chiropractic malpractice
- Dental malpractice
- Diagnosis error
- Dental malpractice
- Emergency room errors
- Elder abuse / nursing home neglect
- Gastric bypass errors
- Medication errors
- Nursing negligence
- Pharmacy errors
- Surgical malpractice
- Wrongful death.
With the awareness in the society and the people in general gathering consciousness about their rights, measures for damages in tort, civil suits and criminal proceedings are on the augment. Not only civil suits are filed, the accessibility of a medium for grievance redress under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (CPA), having jurisdiction to hear complaints against medical professionals for ‘deficiency in service‘, has given rise to a large number of complaints against doctors, being filed by the persons feeling aggrieved. The criminal complaints are being filed against doctors alleging commission of offenses punishable under Sec. 304A or Sections 336/337/338 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) alleging rashness or negligence on the part of the doctors resulting in loss of life or injury of varying degree to the patient. This has given rise to a situation of great distrust and fear among the medical profession and a legal assurance, ensuring protection from unnecessary and arbitrary complaints, is the need of the hour. The liability of medical professionals must be clearly demarcated so that they can perform their benevolent duties without any fear of legal sword. At the same time, justice must be done to the victims of medical negligence and a punitive sting must be adopted in deserving cases. This is more so when the most sacrosanct right to life or personal liberty is at stake.
A medical practitioner cannot be held liable simply because things went wrong from mischance or misadventure or through an error of judgment in choosing one reasonable course of treatment in preference of another. A medical practitioner would be liable only where his conduct fell below that of the standards of a reasonably competent practitioner in his field. At least three weighty considerations can be pointed out which any forum trying the issue of medical negligence in any jurisdiction must keep in mind. These are: (i) that legal and disciplinary procedures should be properly founded on firm, moral and scientific grounds; (ii) that patients will be better served if the real causes of harm are properly identified and appropriately acted upon; and (iii) that many incidents involve a contribution from more than one person, and the tendency is to blame the last identifiable element in the chain of causation the person holding the ‘smoking gun’. Thus, to establish a medical negligence, the above mentioned position must be kept in mind.
Don’t fall prey to such professionals who are hungry simply for money, know to practice your rights, at the right time and in the best possible manner.
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