Quantum of punishment awarded to doctors by MCI to be disclosed under RTI
Reply to an RTI application to the Medical Council of India (MCI) revealed that in a meeting held on June 2010, the Ethics Committee had found sufficient evidence to prove that four doctors of Max Hospital, Prithampura, Delhi were proved guilty of medical negligence. The quantum of punishment was to be decided in the next meeting. When no information was provided even after nearly two years, Mr Manchanda, father of the 30 year old patient, invoked the RTI again. The Central Information Commission has ordered the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the MCI to provide information on the quantum of punishment awarded to the four doctors of Max Hospital, and to put it up on the website.
On the 3rd May 2009, Dr. Nikita Manchanda gave birth to a baby boy through Caesarean Section at the Max Hospital, Prithampura in Delhi. She was alright till the evening of 4th May when she complained of severe abdominal pain at 7 PM along with persistent vomiting. She was given a series of pain-killers by the resident doctor as per the telephonic directions of Dr. Gupta and the anesthetist. Her call at 11 PM to her gynecologist, Dr. Alka Gupta, remained unanswered and the doctors did not think it fit to examine her despite aggravation of her condition.
At 7.30 AM the next day, Dr. Gupta decided that the patient had to be rushed to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and it took one hour to rush Nikita to the ICU. As the hospital did not have a blood – bank, it took the family two hours to arrange for blood by which time her battle for life was almost over. She was declared dead at 12.30 PM on 5th May.
Since then, Mr. Manchanda had filed nearly 50 applications under RTI to get to the bottom of the issue. The Delhi Medical Council gave a clean chit to all the doctors involved in treating Nikita stating there was no medical negligence, but the Ethics Committee gave the following verdict: "…there is medical negligence since in a patient who has undergone Cesarean Section nearly 39 hours ago and has started complaining of severe pain in the abdomen and repetitive vomiting, no investigations including abdominal ultrasound were done and precious time was lost. In the morning when the patient went into irreversible shock, the team was energised to initiate the work-up but by that time the patient suffered a cardiac arrest and in spite of resuscitative measures, she died nearly 12 hours of the start of symptoms……Dr Alka Gupta and Dr Pooja Bhatia were the immediate treating doctors and hence are held guilty of negligence in patient care… Dr Vikas Mangla advised medications without examining the patient, hence is guilty of his conduct… Dr Rajeev Kapoor was negligent in providing the wrong information. The quantum of punishment will be decided in the next meeting."
The CIC has directed the Medical Council of India to disclose all correspondence/emails of the MCI had between Max Hospital and its doctors, the Ethics Committee and its members, Board of Governors of MCI and any other organisation /individual after 8 March 2011, including the file notings. The CIC also asked the MCI to grant a compensation of Rs. 3,000 to the appellant under the provisions of Section 19(8)(b) In its decision, the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, has the power to require the public authority to compensate the complainant for any loss or other detriment suffered; of the RTI Act for the loss and detriment suffered by him in pursing the appeal and getting the information late.
Death due to medical negligence is not un common in our country but doctors responsible for it are rarely punished. There have been charges of a complete collapse of mechanisms to punish people who have been found guilty is extremely damaging for society and denies victims a sense of justice being done.