Dr. Kunal Saha's legal battle -- a victory for the consumer

Rs. 11 crore -- Dr. Kunal Saha's legal battle -- a victory for the consumer and a shock treatment for the private hospitals 

Dear All,

The above landmark judgment must be an eye-opener for the entire medical profession in India. Mrs. Saha has suffered a necrotizing dermatitis and possibly due to an allergic reaction complicated by reduced immunological system of her body. In such a situation overwhelming infection must have culminated in her demise. There is very little any drug can do to ward off fatal outcome. 

One of our members had a similar case about 30 years ago. He was able to save that patient by very diligent supportive therapy maintaining fluid / electrolyte balance and above all absolute aseptic, no-touch / barrier nursing care. All materials used for the patient including bed linens were autoclaved. All staff entering the room attired with sterile gowns, mask, cap and gloves. The case was treated as a delicate operation and unequivocal operating room technology. It lasted over four weeks and the strain and cost of staff and materials can be imagined.

Patient walked home and she is still alive and well. Probably the cost is much less than the fine Hon’ble Supreme Court imposed plus the damage to the medical staff and hospital and unrequested condemnation of entire private medical care system in India. The private hospitals in India do medical care for nearly 70% of patients in India and do 85% of advanced modern medical care, yet they are all lumped together and blamed.

Contributing factor that do complicate many hospital infection is the drug resistance. Even though we have one of the best Drugs and Cosmetics Act since 1940, it is like a paper tiger and has not been implemented due to lack of well trained staff under the Drug Controller compounded by endemic epidemic of corruption. The Drugs department is now eager to control private hospitals by imposing drug licenses with the support of the Judiciary. Interestingly, both failed to understand the meaning of that written in the Drugs Act & Rules!

Today India has over 8 lakh registered modern medical practitioners, but there is over a million prescribing “doctors ". Over 99% of our drug stores act like a retail provision shop, thereby any drug can be purchased over the counter with no need for a prescription.

As a result we have created several super-micro-organisms resistant to drugs. Sadly that includes tuberculosis which has now given us our contribution to the current fashion of globalization.

Our teaching institutions are not alive to this detrimental health hazard due to lack of efficient teaching staff. So far the country having over 350 medical colleges have made no attempt to train the medical teachers, their in job training is self acquired. Neither the Govt. of India, nor the Indian Medical Council or the professional organization has taken any initiative to enhance the standard of teaching or teachers.

Are there any grand rounds or monthly mortality and morbidity conferences by the medical doctors in major private hospitals?

It is time that major professional organizations like Association of Surgeons of India, Physicians of India, Paediatricians, Obstetricians, etc., form a Committee to study the problems and chalk out protocol for improving the Quality Care of patients.

Please do not expect the IMC / IMA to be actively involved as they have become the epicentre of corruption and money is the only attraction for them. 

Kishore Kumar K.