May 28, 2009

‘Better to stop practising medicine than be sued for Medical Negligence’

The Honourable Supreme Court recently decided to grant a compensation of Rs 1 crore to a victim of medical negligence. While the verdict is laudable from a consumer’s point of view, the magnitude of the compensation needs to be debated dispassionately. Can we afford the luxury of compensations in crores in a country like ours?

The high compensation gives de facto legitimacy to claims of multiple crores for all cases pertaining to medical negligence.

The exorbitant medical costs in the USA explain why the American health system is failing and medical tourism to India is picking up. The costs are bolstered by ambulances chasing attorneys who have ensured that doctors cover all risks for patients for any treatment undertaken.

The Professional Indemnity Insurance, which most hospitals and doctors take for Rs 10 lakh will now need to be increased to at least Rs 1 crore. Again, there is no guarantee that the next judgment will not permit a compensation of Rs 10 crore. What then should be the tentative amount for a surgeon to insure himself with?

While this is a good business for insurance companies and the legal fraternity, who will ultimately will pay for this? Surprisingly, in cases of death due to accident caused by an inebriated state roadways bus driver, the government and the judiciary consider a compensation of about Rs 2 lakh.

Will the government, henceforth, award Rs 1 crore compensations to all those who fall victims to negligence on part of a government employee?

While corporate hospitals may not be affected by the high compensations, the average doctor has, however, been rendered a death blow by the judiciary.

As a doctor with 25 years standing, it makes more financial sense for me to stop medical practice rather than expose myself to being sued in crores and risk my lifetime savings.

Applying a common yardstick of accountability to all can help bridge the discrimination between professions.

Link: Original Article

1 comment:

Souvik Maitra said...

Its a very important topic of discussion to-day.



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