“Doctor, why to risk yourself for petty gains?” Telephonic treatment is negligence: Bombay High Court


“Doctor, save the patient, but save yourself also”.

In medicine, any small or big disease or  procedure can have complications.  Frequently, dangerous complications have a subtle and insidious onset with very little symptoms. DVT and pulmonary thrombo- embolism is a known and life threatening complication associated with pregnancy.  This complication and the unfortunate  scenario that  happened  is not unknown and has a potential to recur. So doctors need to learn from such incidences to save themselves.

Since the overall scenario of medical complication and consumerism have undergone a sea change, doctors need to  be careful and change their approach to save from legal issues arising from these. They have to make sure that each small problem  has to be seen carefully in person, as it may harbour a serious threat.

Observing that prescribing medicines to patients without diagnosis amounted to culpable negligence, the Bombay High Court has turned down the anticipatory bail pleas of a doctor couple booked for the death of a woman patient. The doctors have been booked by the Ratnagiri Police under section 304 of Indian Penal Code (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) after the patient died earlier this year. According to the police, the woman was admitted to the accused couple’s hospital in Ratnagiri in February this year where she underwent caesarean operation and gave birth to a baby. The court order said the woman and the child were normal and were discharged two days later. The doctor spoke with the chemist who then gave some medicines to the relatives of the woman. However, even after taking the medicines, the woman did not feel better and was taken to the same hospital, it said. When the woman’s condition deteriorated the next day, the doctors at the hospital shifted her to another hospital, where she died, it said.

   Question arises, why  doctors commonly   need to prescribe by telephonic advice,  specially as in this case, if the doctor themselves were not available.  what made them  to enter into such a dangerous situation? Do  really there are substantial gains to risk so much and everything in life? The reasons:

  1. Most of the time, to retain the patient. As they already treated the patient, It is a natural tendency to  continue the treatment. Factors here are loyalty issues and loosing patient to other physicians.
  2. Sometimes patient request, to avoid coming to hospital or to avoid visiting unknown hospital or other doctors. It is not uncommon that patients request some advice on phone.
  3. Symptoms do not look dangerous or alarming. Patient interpretation is not appropriate. Even myocardial infarction ( heart attack) is taken  as due to “wind problem.”  Main problem here is that doctor is relying on patient’s interpretation, which is likely to be incorrect.
  4. Most dangerous is a friendly advice or relatives. Where it is mistake of both doctor and patient.
  5. Patient is far off and for convenience

 

So  “Gains” in such situations are nil or petty.

Rarely it is done for earning money. It is just done for the sake of convenience. But doctors should  wake up in  the era of consumerism, where no one is going to pardon them for  mistakes.  Retrospective analysis gained with wisdom of hindsight makes them repent many times more than petty gains.

Doctor need to forgo petty gains in order to save themselves. Do not take chances. No one will realize later, what were the causes and intentions behind the mistake.

“Doctor, save the patient, but save yourself also”.

 

 

2 thoughts on ““Doctor, why to risk yourself for petty gains?” Telephonic treatment is negligence: Bombay High Court

Add yours

  1. Very informative mails!!Human rights should be applied for doctors also! We all must stand together for the coming generations for fixed timings for doctors as they are human beings and human rights should applicable for doctors also

    Liked by 1 person

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