The journal India Today has published a totally distorted and motivated version of the case of Mrs. Leela Singh, denigrating a medical professional and the profession. lt projects the complainant as a crusader against malpractice in health care and the patient as the martyr of such a practice. This focuses attention on the following issues which need debate:
- Is it unethical for a consultant or a honorary doctor to adhere to the admission and work-distribution norms of a hospital to which he is attached?
- Is it in the purview of an Ethics Committee of a State Medical Council to dictate to a hospital on its admission policy and practice of distributing work?
- Is it unethical for a doctor to refuse to accept a patient already being looked after by a competent colleague in the hospital or to refuse to interfere or oversee in his or her care?
- Is it unethical for a consultant to limit one’s services to specifics and to refuse to take over the charge of the case in which he has been called as a consultant for opinion?
- Is it unethical to advise surgical exploration in an inoperable cancer patient when she starts bleeding from the metastatic site?
- Is it unethical to refuse to accept fee for services not rendered or services not to be rendered?
- Is it ethical for colleagues to keep quiet when some doctors unwittingly and in their misplaced enthusiasm side with a self-styled crusader agasint medical malpractice to persecute, defame and criminally prosecute a senior colleague for his ethical conduct?
S G Kabra, D-102, S DM Hospital, Jaipur 302015
- Subramaniam Arun: Enforcing accountability. India Today 15 December 1995 p 143-155.