Doctors are paid for their services- very often these are astronomical fees. While the complexities of a human body are certainly governed by an unknown force (some may call it God), medical science will certainly help in a large number of cases. So its natural for a patient to expect relief from their complaints.
Yet in some cases, things go horribly wrong and instead of relief, the patient may land up with something much worse. Then there is talk of ‘suing’ the doctor, taking legal action etc.
So is medicare in India covered under consumer laws?
In Pune, Rida Shaikh succumbed to H1N1 infection. We all grieved for the loss of this young girl on the threshold of her youth. Was Jehangir Hospital at fault? Were her doctors negligent? What test did Ruby Hospital really perform (the results were returned faster than the usual time required for a H1N1 test)?
A television discussion last week dealt with this topic and here is what I understood:
A doctor cannot be sued for error of judgment or difference of opinion. In most cases, it is another team of doctors who investigate and they will always stand by their own. How does one then prove that the doctor was at fault? Read the full discussion here.
Our legal system being what it is, a case will take forever to reach a logical conclusion.
Where does that leave us? Are we not entitled to some legal protection such situations?
What are our rights, if any, as medical consumers?
Other instances of negligence/oversights/mistakes (whatever be the word play used) that may cause death or damage are certainly punished such as the recent Delhi Metro under-construction bridge collapse where Gammon India was to be issued a show-cause notice.
This argument can go on for ever and the issue would still remain unresolved. In the meanwhile, each one of us needs to focus on our health.
Take a rain check of your lifestyle..
Is your diet a healthy one?
Are you exercising regularly?
Do you practise stress-management techniques?
Do you follow basic hygiene practices?
As some one said, one should never have to require services of professionals wearing a black or white coat.