A callous disregard for people's lives

VIOLATING NORMS

A callous disregard for people's lives

The problem of illegal doctors practising in the City was once again highlighted during a High Court hearing of a medical negligence case leading to a woman’s death at the hands of a quack.

Though the ‘doctor’, a compounder in the clinic had been sentenced to five years imprisonment for ‘causing death of a woman by an act intended to cause miscarriage’, there are still thousands of illegal doctors practising in the City thanks to the apparent slackness and ignorance of the government machinery.

Anil Bansal, chairman, anti-quackery cell, Indian Medical Association (IMA) says the problem of illegal doctors is alarming. “Government is not taking proper action against quacks because it doesn’t want to. Unless and until medical services are not improved in Government hospitals, the problem of quackery will continue,” he says.

According to him, every ten minutes a person suffers owi­ng to wrong treatment at the hand of quacks. “There are around two lakhs quacks in the country, of which around 50,000 are in Delhi. By injecting unnecessary steroids and medicines, these quacks play with the lives of the people,” says Anil.

He cites how Government authorities fail to take action against those violating the medical norms. “Each month we send 30-40 complaints to the police about the illegal doctors practising in the City. But they don’t take any action, no FIR is filed.  Neither the police are interested nor is the anti-quackery cell of the Delhi Government towards the issue,” says Anil.

Explaining the steps that are followed when taking action against illegal doctors, Dr Girish Tyagi, secretary, Delhi Medical Council (DMC) says, “As a part of Medical Council of India, we send complaints to the Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) to verify the complaints against the doctor.  We summon atleast 20 doctors every month. If someone doesn’t appear with their documents we order the closure of the clinic.  Still, if we find the doctor is practising then a case is filed in the Metropolitan Court.”

“Ironically,” Anil points out, “no action is taken from the CDMO’s front. They don’t collect the documents properly. The case on which High Court served its verdict recently is due to the fact that the family decided to fight a legal battle.”

The problem of quacks is grave in areas like west and north-west districts of the City. During the hearing, the court also took note of a report filed by Delhi Government's health department on the functioning of the anti-quackery cell. The report accompanied with a chart stated the number of complaints received during 2012-2013 on the issue of quacks in the city.

“The table indicated that in west and north-west district, the inspections were not carried out in respect of the majority of the complaints due to the non-availability of a government vehicle. This appears to be a very shocking state of affairs of the anti-quackery cell,” the bench said in its order.

“It is not an acceptable reason from the Government’s side. They cannot allow quacks to play with people’s lives like this. This shows how ignorant are the government officials in  dealing with the problem,” says Anil.

Meanwhile, Girish points out that several meetings are taking place with the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sidharth Luthra, members of IMA, DMC and Medical Council of India to  put an end to the illegal practice. 

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