Are you aware of your protection laws? -Doctors
“No doctor on earth can ever think of hurting or causing any damage to his/her patient to the best of his ability and expertise”. However no doctor can guarantee and ensure complete safety of his/her patients
The growing mistrust among patients and their attendants on their treating doctors is emerging as the biggest challenge in the cure of diseases. The mistrust leads to inefficient and costly treatments, where patients go through mental, emotional, financial and physical stress which may lead to aggression among the patients and their attendants. But matters worsen when medical casualty’s outbreaks into public outrages causing humiliation and threat to the lives of medical professionals.
According to the Doctors’ protection Act in India:
- Any damage or act of violence against Medicare professionals is an act punishable by law. Medicare professionals include (Doctors, nurses, paramedics, medical students, hospital attendants/staff)
- Any damage to the property or the Institution of Medicare service is prohibited. Destruction of hospital beds, burning of ambulances, smashing medical stores is punishable by law
- Imprisonment to lawbreakers for a minimum period of 3 years and fine amount of INR 50,000 to be imposed if found guilty.
- Offenders of medical professionals/medical colleges can be cognizable or non cognizable crime depending upon the offences committed.
- Damage to any medical devices and equipments is a punishable offence and the offenders are liable to pay twice the amount of the damaged equipment’s cost.
Protection laws in the interest of Physicians:
A Judge bench formed in 2005, August Justice R.C Lahoti, Justice G.P Mathur and Justice P.K Subramanian said Medical negligence act amounting to culpable homicide shall be punished with IPC 304-A imprisonment extending upto many years depending on the medical negligence.
The law mentions that prima-facie evidence before the court is to be submitted and verified by a government doctor of the same rank. This law also protects the physicians from false allegations and fake medical complications complaints to extort money from the alleged doctors.
IPC 304-A cognizable offence also can result into police arresting the doctor without any warrant. However there is an impending appeal in High court that doctors not to be trialed as criminals. As they spend their entire life serving the mankind. Doctors excerpts “We are not god”, human body is not immortal, we treat our patients to best of our knowledge but due to unforeseen circumstances we can also make mistakes termed as medical negligence’s
Medical negligence’s leading to criminal offences:
- Injecting wrong drug or right drug but in over dosage leading to irreversible side effects. Injecting wrong dosage of Anesthesia.
- Amputation and operating of wrong limb and removal of organs without patient consent.
- Operating on the incorrect patient.
- Leaving medical instruments and foreign objects behind during operation.
- Leaving stitches behind for a longer period leading to gangrene and infection.
- Transfusing wrong or infected blood
- Applying faulty plasters leading to lifetime distortion & damages.
- Performing fetus sex determination & illegal abortions
Doctors are encouraged to perform their duty and take up key responsibilities towards the patients and not to violate professional ethics. A consent form must be taken from the patient before the onset of any treatment.
When it comes to Doctor’s job perspective, a survey conducted by IMA (Indian Medical Association) showed that, more than 75% of doctors face violence at work specially while dealing with patients in emergency units. The abuse may range from verbal abuses, manhandles physical assaults, threatening and in rare cases murder. Doctors are therefore advised to know the medico legal norms and not fall prey to intolerance and injustices.
Increasing attacks on Doctors has led to an environment of fear and anguish among medical fraternities. So, Government should make more strict laws against attackers to protect Doctors and medical staffs. Otherwise, a time will come when Doctors will start frequent strikes and non cooperation movements leaving us to practice alternative medicines by quacks and underqualifieds. This will be a great blow to emergency/critical patients who need medical care and attention from the right doctors at the right time.
Are you aware of your protection laws? -Doctors
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