Malpractice or Poor Judgement? Essay

973 Words Sep 24th, 1999 4 Pages
Malpractice or Poor Judgement?

The practice of medicine has never claimed to be an exact science. In fact, it is very much a hit-and-miss situation. Taking into account these above factors, India seems to be on a destructive trend regarding their level of health care. Ever since private medical services fell under the Consumer
Protection Act (COPRA) in April 1993, the number of malpractice suits filed against doctors has begun to soar. For example, in Kerala, approximately 1800 cases (15% of the total number of cases) have been filed. As Dr. Dipak Banerjee of the Indian Medical Association puts it: "It's degenerating into a kind of witch-hunt." For years the community of doctors across India was immune to charges of
malpractice,
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We now have to see whether a patient comes alone for consultation or brings along his advocate." This problem could lead, and has led, to many others. Doctors may shun complicated cases where risk is high due to the delicate nature of the procedure, so as not to be hauled to court. This refusal to treat patients has already taken its toll on those involved in motor vehicle accidents, whose treatments are often very tedious. This brings us to the fulcrum of the issue: trying to hold doctors accountable for their actions. Is poor service better than no service at all? Is the case criminal negligence - or just a genuine error in judgement? This entire matter revolves around a central point in the Consumer
Protection Act-- section 2 (1) (o) which declares "services means service of any description which is made available to potential users... It does not include rendering of any service free of charge or under a contract of personal service." This statement clears government-run hospitals and doctors of any wrong-doing, due to the fact that much of their service is rendered free of charge. However, this does not clear the private sector hospitals which now perform approximately
70% of all out-patient services. Even still, the main problem with COPRA is its tendency to make doctors solely responsible for poor treatment. L. M. Kapur, president of the Association of Medical

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