“I solemnly pledge myself to consecrate my life to service of humanity”

“I solemnly pledge myself to consecrate my life to service of humanity” this is the first sentence a doctor took oath when s/he joins into the medical profession. They are considered as God knowing that they are human being, as the profession gives ‘hope’ of life to a patient and his family on this earth.

The statement of the Secretary of the Assam branch of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) Dr Satyajit Borah (Assam Tribune May 17, 2016) has been taken note of by Dr. Anamika Ray Memorial Trust. Firstly, the Trust initiates this movement ‘Stop Medical Terrorism- a campaign for better health care services in India’ aiming for a better and transparent health care service in the country. The Trust condemns all kind of violence against any heal care provider, not only the doctors including para-medical staff and the people in the management of the hospitals. The basic mission of this movement is to have a separate law in the country to prevent medical malpractice and negligence. The trust also wishes to create a healthy and safe relationship between patients and health service providers and also to create awareness on patients’ rights.

Regarding the statistics mentioned in the first advocacy meeting by the Managing Trustee Dr. Ankuran Dutta, the Trust would like to clarify that the statistics of 98,000 people who die due to medical error has been borrowed from the television programme “We the People” of NDTV, where Padma Shri Dr. Krishan Kumar Aggarwal of IMA was also a panellists. Another statistics 5.2 million medical injuries are recorded in India has been taken from the research paper titled “A Study of Medical Negligence Cases decided by the District Consumer Courts of Delhi” by Mukesh Yadav and Pooja Rastogi, which was published at the Journal of the Indian Academy of Forensic Medicine in the issue Jan-March 2015, Vol. 37, No. 1 with ISSN 0971-0973 (online available). “10 people fall victim to medical negligence every minute and more than 11 people die every hour in the country due to medical error”- is only a quantitative analysis drawn from the references mentioned above.

Regarding the disclosure of details of two isolated case reports that finds mention in Dr Dutta’s article, I would like to submit that the Trust believes that the same should not be disclosed to maintain the ethical standards. As doctors cannot disclose any information of any patient under section 2.2 of the Code of Ethics Regulation 2002 of the Medical Council of India, the Trust doesn’t disclose the name of the doctors and associated hospitals. The Trust believes in open discussion for improvement of the patient- doctor relationship.

The Trust also wants to mention here that the guests invited to the first advocacy meeting were from different fields and had their own views on the issue. Dr Putul Mahanta mentioned in the meeting about the present scenario of doctor vs patient (ratio) highlighting the issue of how to build up a strong, safe and healthy doctor patient relationship. He also advised to change the term “Medical Terrorism” to “Medical Negligence”.

The trust never generalised all the medical professionals and in its view “when a medical professional or a service provider does any inhuman behaviour creating an environment of terror using medical knowledge or license, then it is not only negligence, it is also medical terrorism.” Hence, it is the request of the Trust to all medical professionals not to misinterpret and generalise the term and mislead the readers to maintain a better and healthy relationship with their patients. As Dr. Borah mentioned, the Trust also feels that the issue should be taken up seriously by the Government and an urgent measure should be taken in the training up of doctors and changing medical curriculum effectively.

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