Two patients died yesterday at the Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi according to new reports after resident physicians joined a “doctors’ strike” in demand of timely salary, better accommodation and security (see below). While PBT can appreciate and support some of these legitimate grievances of doctors against the government, doctors cannot hold innocent patients at ransom by disrupting hospital services by going on strike. A similar “doctors’ strike” at the Safdarjung Hospital caused needless death and injury to the patients in 2010 and in response to the complaint filed by PBT, Delhi Medical Council issued a strong warning to the striking doctors by holding, “under no circumstances, doctors should resort to strike as the same puts patients care in serious jeopardy and such actions are also in violation of the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002”. A public interest litigation (PIL) was also filed last year by PBT after a nation-wide “doctors’ strike” was called by the Indian Medical Association (IMA). The Apex Court has already issued notice in this PIL which is still pending before the SC. In view of the specific direction issued by DMC against “doctors’ strike” in 2010, PBT has filed a new appeal with the DMC seeking their immediate intervention in the ongoing and frequent strikes by doctors at the Safdarjung Hospital bringing serious risks for the hapless patients.
News (May 16, 2013) Doctor strike
Unbelievable but true – the ballot (“voting paper”) to be used for the upcoming election in the West Bengal Medical Council (WBMC) seemingly will have a “Serial No.” which can be easily tracked by the Council leaders to find out who voted for which candidate. The WBMC election will be held next month to establish a new state medical council that has the supreme authority to take disciplinary action against delinquent physicians. This historic election is being conducted by order from Calcutta High Court in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by PBT against the Adhoc Council, formed through an Ordinance after Mamata Banerjee government came to power in 2011, with 10 hand-picked loyal doctor-supporters of the ruling Trinomool party. Establishment of an honest and unbiased medical council is the only way to restore doctor-patient relationship. PBT is not only the principal architect of this unprecedented election for a new WBMC, at least four doctors with absolutely no political agenda, including PBT president Dr. Kunal Saha, have already filed their nomination papers to contest in the upcoming election.
It is a common knowledge today that medical council elections have always been rigged by the doctor members who are associated with the ruling party in the state – doctors close to the Left-front parties occupied WBMC for the past more than three decades and no sooner Mamata Banerjee-led Trinomool came to power in West Bengal in 2011, the Council was taken over by loyal doctor-supporters of Mamata Banerjee including two sitting MLAs, Dr. Nirmal Maji and Dr. Sudipta Ray. The result of extraneous political influence has always poisoned the medical council hurting interests of both the patients and large fraction of doctors who are honest and working hard to restore public trust in our healers.
PBT has come to learn that the “voting paper” (ballot) which will be mailed to all registered doctors in West Bengal for casting their vote will have a unique “Serial No.” which would enable the present leaders of WBMC to track down how each doctor across the state has voted. In other words, there will be no “secrecy of ballot”, a vital principle for ensuring a fair and free election. A copy of the sample “voting paper” obtained from the Election Rule book which would be used in the WBMC Election, 2013 is shown below. PBT has already lodged a formal complaint with the WBMC Election official in this regard. Election must be held under secret ballot for establishment of a fair and honest WBMC.
Ballot (WBMC Election)
The list of candidates for the upcoming West Bengal Medical Council (WBMC) was finalized today by the Council Election Officer and Registrar of WBMC, Mr. D.K. Ghosh. This historic election is being held after PBT moved Calcutta High Court against the Adhoc medical council which was established after Mamata Banerjee government came to power in West Bengal in 2011 but passed an ordinance, instead of holding a new election which was due for more than three years, to put 10 hand-picked doctors loyal to the Banerjee government to run the medical council. For the first time, PBT has filed its own candidates to contest in the upcoming election as conscientious doctors are now coming to join PBT in order to fight for the hapless patients to restore public trust in the healthcare delivery system. PBT has called a press conference to discuss these issues which will be held at 4 PM on Saturday (April 27, 2013) at the Calcutta Press Club. All media members, doctors and victims of medical negligence are all invited to attend this press conference where PBT president will also participate before he returns to USA.
In another major stride toward making the Indian healthcare system better, PBT president Dr. Kunal Saha and eminent persons including several local doctors inaugurated a new branch of PBT in Hyderabad to better serve people of Andhra Pradesh. The celebration for inauguration of PBT’s latest branch was held at the Hyderabad City Convention Center and attended by many ordinary people and members of the media (see the news below). The Hyderabad branch of PBT will be headed by co-ordinator and advocate, Mr. P. Ramakrishna Reddy, whose daughter died from gross medical negligence several years ago. Mr. Reddy may be reached at 9396982233.
In his inaugural address, Dr. Saha called on all conscientious citizens and victims of alleged medical negligence to join hands in order to curb the menace of unethical and negligent practice by many doctors/hospitals in India. While vouching to fight medical negligence and corruption in the healthcare system today, Dr. Saha stated that PBT believes that most doctors in India still believe in the ethical values and humanitarian approach in treatment, but it is time that the “good” doctors come forward to stand up against the few “rotten apples” in the system to regain public trust in our healers.
TOI (April 22, 2013)News Ennadu (Apr. 22, 2013)