PBT’s relentless effort to bring justice for all victims of “medical negligence” received a major boost today as Mr. Sudhir Kumar Srivastava, an ardent supporter and PBT life-member, was informed by Medical Council of India (MCI) that they have directed to cancel medical registration of Dr. Vipul Shah, a general surgeon in Lucknow, for a period of 5 years for unethical behavior and negligent therapy causing untimely demise of Mr. Srivastava’s wife, Mrs. Nidhi Srivastav, who died from acute liver failure after Dr. Shah administered astronomical dosage of two hepatoxic drugs ignoring the patient’s grossly abnormal liver function test (LFT). MCI also found Dr. Shah guilty for blatant violation of minimal ethical standard that all doctors in India must observe. Ironically, the U.P. Medical Council (UPMC) had earlier acquitted Dr. Shah as they found no medical or ethical violation by the accused doctor.
Mr. Srivastava came to PBT in 2010 seeking help to find justice after his wife died from gross medical negligence when she was only 40 leaving behind three young children, two daughters (13, 11) and a son (7). With proper guidance and support from PBT, Mr. Srivastava fought tirelessly over the past 4 years and finally brought medical justice to Dr. Vipul Shah, a highly influential surgeon with thriving practice in Lucknow, as MCI suspended his license to practice medicine for a period of 5 years (see Dr. Shah’s resume and picture below which was obtained from the web). Mr. Srivastava’s legal case in the National Consumer Forum (NCDRC) seeking a compensation of Rs. 5.5 crore and a separate criminal case are still pending.
There are several distinct and highly important aspects in the MCI verdict against Dr. Shah that may have major implications in other cases involving medical malpractice. Apart from the negligent therapy, Dr. Shah was also found guilty for “unethical” behavior including:
1) Using “misleding degrees” after his name.
2) Making false claim in his letterhead that he was also “practicing in US and UK”.
3) Using false “logo of American Academy of Cerebral Palsy”.
4) Practicing in West Bengal and Delhi once every month, without intimation to the state medical council.
For these “unethical” misconduct, MCI suspended Dr. Shah’s license for a period of 2 years while an additional 3 years suspension was imposed on Dr. Shah because of his negligent treatment (see complete MCI Order below)
This is a significant victory not only for Mr. Srivastav’s family but also for PBT as it brings a new ray of hope for millions of hapless victims of “medical negligence” whose complaints against the errant doctors are still languishing in different state medical councils and MCI. The momentous verdict by MCI also underscores the presence of rampant corruption in the state medical councils in India. How the doctor-only members of U.P. Medical Council found nothing wrong with the negligent treatment or unethical behavior by Dr. Shah which was grossly wrong to the members of MCI? A similar situation also occurred with the historic case of Anuradha Saha as members of West Bengal Medical Council (WBMC) gave a clean chit to all three doctors who were later found responsible for Anuradha’s death not only by MCI but also by the Apex Court. The entire WBMC doctor-members were indicted by Calcutta High Court in 2011 in an unprecedented criminal case under IPC Section 120b (“criminal conspiracy”) and section 201 (“shielding offender”). It remains to be seen whether doctor-members of U.P. Medical Council face any criminal charge for conspiracy for their seemingly devious action. But the good news is that our unrelenting fight against negligent treatment and healthcare corruption has finally started to produce meaningful impact on the flawed medical regulatory system. It must also be remembered that Mr. Srivastava’s appeal against the U.P. Medical Council’s acquittal of Dr. Shah (under section 8.8 of MCI “Code of Ethics & Regulations”) was possible only because of PBT’s historic PIL in Supreme Court of India (W.P. Civil No. 317/2000) which eventually resulted introduction of sections 8.7 and 8.8 in the MCI “Code of Ethics and Regulations” in 2004.