In another overtly uncaring move for the lives of the defenseless patients, thousands of doctors in government and private hospitals across Mumbai started strike and mass casual leave bringing the entire healthcare delivery system to its knees and causing endless misery and death of at least 57 patients, according to published report. This “doctors’ strike” was initiated in demand of increased security after alleged assault on a doctor by aggrieved patient-party. PBT has long held an wavering view that doctor bashing and hospital vandalism cannot be condoned under any condition, even when there is ample evidence of gross medical negligence, because one wrong can never be the cure for another wrong. But PBT also firmly believes that doctors have no legal or moral right to go on a “strike” holding the innocent patients at ransom. Moreover, “doctors’ strike” clearly violates the MCI Code of Ethics & Regulations, 2002 and it clearly goes against the fundamental principles of the Hippocratic Oath that all doctors must take before starting to care for the ailing citizens.
In response to our PIL against doctors’ strike, Supreme Court of India passed a historic judgment on 15th November, 2014 (W.P. No. 253/2012; PBT vs. MCI & Ors.) in which the Apex Court held that strike by doctors may be deemed as “negligence” and the striking doctors are liable for disciplinary action by the medical council. In view of this categorical observations made by the SC, PBT has submitted a formal complaint with the MCI and Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) requesting them to take exemplary disciplinary action against the striking doctors failing which PBT will move the appropriate court seeking contempt against the MCI and MMC. While IMA has defended the striking doctors without caring for the loss of innocent patients’ lives, Indian medical community needs to ponder why unfortunate incidence of doctor bashing by irate crowd and “doctors’ strike” are unheard of in developed countries like UK and USA. Until the common people are provided with a truly impartial and honest platform (e.g. medical council or Commission) where they feel that they have a chance of finding justice against the errant medicos, occasional attacks on doctors/hospitals by otherwise peaceful and law-abiding citizens who lose control of their minds under acute grief after witnessing their loved dying from reckless treatment are not likely to end anytime soon.