In a bizarre move that would undoubtedly raise more questions about fairness in the investigation of complaints against delinquent doctors by the doctor-members in the medical council, the Medical Council of India (MCI) has reversed its own decision to suspend Dr. Rakesh Verma, head of cardiology at the Safderjung Hospital, only three days after the suspension order was declared in the MCI website (see H. Times report below). The new MCI chairman, Dr. K.K. Talwar, has defended the strange move by the MCI as he claimed that Dr. Verma has filed new documents which will now be forwarded to the Ethics Committee for further consideration. On the other hand, the accused Dr. Verma has claimed that the complainant was not his patient and thus, the Ethics Committee has no jurisdiction to investigate this case. So, why Dr. Talwar wants to have this case re-investigated by the Ethics Committee again? More important, even in a court of law, a judge generally cannot re-litigate or reverse his own order.
Ironically, PBT has learned that the MCI Ethics Committee meeting for the month of June was canceled on June 14, 2011 without providing any reason. PBT’s complaint against the disgraced, ex-MCI president Dr. Ketan Desai was also listed for hearing on June 14, 2011. When Dr. Arun Bal, chairman of the Ethics Committee until at least the last month, was contacted today, he merely verified that the Ethics Committee meeting was dismissed but could not give the reason for the cancellation of the meeting. In fact, Dr. Bal was not even sure whether he is still the chairman of the MCI Ethics Committee as he said that the new Board of Governors is likely to select new members for the Ethics Committee. But for the countless victims of medical negligence waiting for justice, this shocking confusion and doldrums in the MCI can only bring more hopelessness and despair for finding justice against the hitherto “untouchable” healers of India.