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Large number of doctors under Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) have joined a strike to settle their personal scores with the government bringing endless pain and suffering for countless patients, mostly with poor socio-economic condition as they are unable to attend pricy private hospitals. Doctors have demanded for regular salary and other benefits from the government. While PBT has no qualm with legitimate demands from the government by members of the medical fraternity, doctors should not hold defenseless patients ransom by disrupting hospital services through doctors’ strike.

PBT moved the Apex Court against “doctors’ strike” through a PIL in 2006 (SC W.P. No. 316/2006). The Apex Court agreed with the view that strike by doctors is of great public importance and while disposing the PIL in 2012, Supreme Court directed that for any doctors’ strike in the future, Health Ministry should be approached for taking appropriate disciplinary action against the striking doctors and in case the Health Ministry does not respond, Apex Court has also given “liberty” to approach the court of law. The Delhi Medical Council also issued an Order in 2010 (after PBT lodged a complaint against doctors’ strike at Safdarjung Hospital) categorically holding that doctors have no right to join strike as it also violates the provisions of MCI Code of Ethics & Regulations, 2002.

PBT has lodged a formal complaint, as directed by the Supreme Court, with the Delhi Govt. Health Minister, Mr. Satyendar Jain, asking him to take immediate action against the striking doctors to bring an end to the endless miseries for the hapless patients. If there is no response from the Delhi Health Minister within a period of 10 days, PBT will take necessary legal action as suggested by the Apex Court (see PBT’s complaint below).

Let to Delhi Health Minister (Feb 1, 2016) Doc strike

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An investigative report published this week by NDTV has found continued wide-spread corruption with inspection of medical colleges by the present MCI which is still under control of disgraced ex-MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai (see the report below). PBT has long been alleging that despite his arrest by the CBI for accepting huge bribe from a private medical college in 2010, Dr. Desai, who is still waiting for his criminal trial to begin, has managed to rule the entire MCI after he was able to put many of his long-known cronies in top positions in the MCI. In fact, Supreme Court has already issued notice against MCI and Dr. Ketan Desai in a historic PIL filed by PBT challenging the botched MCI election that helped to elect all Desai cronies at the helm of the MCI. This PIL is now waiting for final disposal at the Apex Court. In another PIL filed by the PBT which is pending for “order” on 8th February, 2016 by the Delhi High Court, serious allegations against top MCI and IMA members have been raised by the PBT for deliberately making false claim in support of Dr. Desai to make him as World Medical Association (WMA) president-elect in 2016. The findings of NDTV investigation that Dr. Desai is still controlling MCI and medical education system in India provide strong evidence in support of PBT’s contentions in both the pending PILs.

NDTV (Jan 19, 2016) MCI-Desai corruption

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In the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by PBT alleging that disgraced ex-MCI chief, Dr. Ketan Desai, had rigged the last MCI election held in December, 2013 to put his hand-picked cronies at the helm of the MCI, central health ministry and MCI have filed their affidavits in the Supreme Court in which both have opposed the writ petition and defended Dr. Desai. This important PIL is expected to come for final argument in the next few weeks.

One of the principle allegations raised by the PBT is that Dr. Desai hosted a lavish dinner party at the IMA house in Delhi just the night before the election day where a printed list was circulated among all the newly elected MCI members in which specific names of doctors who would be elected to the top posts in the next day’s MCI election was categorically listed. Next day each of those candidates selected by Dr. Desai was elected, all without any contest, to their respective positions as noted in the list circulated at the dinner party the night before. While denying any foul play in the MCI election, both government and MCI have not been able to deny about the development allegedly took place at dinner party hosted by Dr. Desai as claimed by the PBT. Although we will have to wait for the final verdict from the Apex Court to uncover the entire truth, we wonder why the central government has decided to defend a grossly tainted man like Dr. Ketan Desai who is free on bail and waiting for criminal trial to face serious charges of bribery and corruption.

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Traveling across different cities in India to promote PBT, Dr. Kunal Saha, PBT president, will hold an open press presentation at the Roshanara Hall at Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi at 1 pm on Wednesday (January 13, 2016). Dr. Saha’s talk entitled, “Cancer of Indian Healthcare and Medical Education System: Ketan Desai Factor”, will focus on PBT’s recent progress in unraveling different mode of corruption inside the Medical Council of India (MCI) and Indian Medical Association (IMA). India’s medical education system is complete turmoil under the de facto leadership of disgraced ex-MCI chief, Dr. Ketan Desai whose cronies are still sitting on top of the MCI and IMA. The latest shocking development is Dr. Desai’s reinstatement as the World Medical Association (WMA) president at the behest of the top IMA/MCI leaders who have lied before the world medical body that all criminal charges against Dr. Desai have been dropped. PBT has already filed several writ petitions (PILs) against the corruption inside MCI and IMA. These legal and other developments will be presented at the press meet tomorrow.

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Although Delhi HC division bench headed by the Chief Justice called on Jan 6, 2016 the PIL filed by PBT (W.P. No. 9597/2015; People for Better Treatment vs. MCI &Ors.), which was listed for ORDER, the court simply adjourned the matter to 8th February, 2016 without passing any order. The principal prayer in this PIL has been to direct MCI and Union of India to take appropriate steps to prevent disgraced ex-MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai, from assuming the prestigious post of the president of World Medical Association (WMA) which he is expected to take over in October, 2016. The primary allegations in this case involve top IMA and MCI officials deliberately provided false and fabricated information to the WMA in order to make Dr. Desai president-elect of this international world medical body in order to rebuild Dr. Desai’s badly tainted public image and to bring him back at the helm of Indian healthcare.

This PIL was strenuously argued on 9th October, 2015 by senior advocate, Mr. M.N.Krishnaani, on behalf of PBT, after Govt. of India, MCI and IMA all raised the issue of “maintainability” in support of Dr. Desai as the court reserved the case for ORDER to be delivered on 2nd November, 2015. When 2nd November came, the PIL was further adjourned to 6th January, 2016 without any further hearing and yesterday (Jan 6), this important matter was again adjourned to 8th February, 2016.

PBT is particularly concerned with the present developments with this PIL due to the fact that only few months are left before the disgraced Dr. Desai, still with a suspended medical registration, would be put to the coveted post of WMA president unless this writ petition is allowed and MCI and Govt. of India take necessary measures to stop Dr. Desai. If time runs out and Delhi HC fails to make any decision before Dr. Desai becomes WMA president in October, the entire PIL would become totally infructuous. That would be a true travesty of justice for the entire nation and would send a wrong message to the hapless patients of India.

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In a large gathering of victims of medical negligence and ordinary people from all spectrum of life, PBT celebrated its 14th Anniversay yesterday (Dec. 30) at Rotary Sadan in Kolkata (see news below). PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, called on all honest doctors to step forward and take away the regulatory authority from the hands of the unscrupulous members of the medical community headed by the disgraced ex-MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai and his cronies who are still occupying top positions in the MCI and IMA. PBT president also criticized the government for keeping blind eyes to the ongoing corruption involving medical education and practice of medicine. Dr. Saha also vouched that PBT will continue to fight medical negligence and healthcare corruption through new PILs in the Supreme Court and High Courts. Dr. Saha also severely criticized the Mamata Banerjee government for their miserable failure to take action against negligent doctors. As announced recently, PBT has opened a new and vastly improved service center and head office at a prime location in Kolkata (Address: Commercial Point (Room G/4D/1), 79 Lenin Sarani, Kolkata 700013)to help victims of medical negligence.

Business Standard (Dec 31, 2015)

Jagran (Dec 31, 2015)

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On our 14th anniversary on 30th December to be celebrated at the Rotary Sadan in Kolkata, PBT is also going to open a permanent and new head office in Kolkata. The new address for PBT is:

People for Better Treatment (PBT)
79, Lenin Sarani
Commercial Point (Ground Floor)
Room No. G/4D1
Kolkata 700013

To celebrate this auspicious occasion, PBT president Dr. Kunal Saha would also come to Kolkata from his permanent place of residence in USA. During his upcoming trip to India, Dr. Saha would also participate in several legal proceedings including cases on behalf of the alleged victims of medical negligence that are pending before different consumer courts in India. Although a medical doctor, Dr. Saha has unparalleled wisdom and experience in arguing before the court in cases involving “medical negligence”. As we reported earlier, Dr. Saha has already appeared in court and won cases on behalf of victims of “medical negligence” on several occasions. Of course, Dr. Saha and PBT provide this service to help medical victims for free only for the sake of humanity although we urge every able citizen to come and join hands with us in this enormous battle against the corrupt and negligent doctors and hospitals in India.

People are encouraged to contact PBT at 9831983670/9038083670/9143650171/9836706952 to join on this major anniversary day on 30th December, 2015 or if you want to meet and/or consult Dr. Saha for litigation or other purposes. You can also write to Dr. Saha directly at his email at ANKU1@EARTHLINK.NET or through PBT’s email at PBTINDIA2012@GMAIL.COM.

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Although many eyebrows were raised but there was no hide and sick when disgraced ex-MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai, appeared at the gala celebration of the marriage of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s daughter last week (see news below). Of course, the marriage party was also attended by other BJP leaders and top Bollywood stars. Last year, it was a lavish party to celebrate the marriage of Desai’s daughter in Ahmedabad where most BJP leaders including the party president, Mr. Amit Shah and several sitting central ministers joined the party.

There is no secret anymore about the cozy relationship between the BJP-led central government leaders and corrupt Dr. Desai who is still facing criminal trial for alleged bribery and corruption for which he was caught red-handed by the CBI in 2010 when Desai was still the MCI president. While the CBI case against Dr. Desai is still going on in the court, the top bosses of the government are shamelessly roaming in the public with the accused Dr. Desai. Affidavits filed in the Apex Court in another related ongoing case showed that Dr. Desai even secretly met with the CBI Director while the case against him was still being investigate. As Supreme Court has said on many occasions that justice should not only be done but it must also appear to be done – Is there any hope to see Dr. Desai ever brought to justice? And what about our PM who swept to power on the band-wagon of “anti-corruption”?

Mid-Day (Dec 13, 2015)

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While numerous patients are falling victims to medical negligence at the hands of qualified medical practitioners everyday, countless other patients are paying a heavy toll at the hands of unregistered and untrained “quacks” across India. Quackery is a menace especially for the poor and uninformed patients in the rural areas. There is absolutely no accountability for the thousands of unqualified “quacks” who are bringing endless pain and suffering for the innocent patients through unscientific and often dangerous treatment. In order to send a strong signal to all the unscrupulous “quacks”, PBT lodged a criminal complaint against one Mr. Subhendhu Mallick, a self-claimed “surgeon” who has a thriving medical practice in Serampore, about 15 km from Kolkata (see news below). Practicing medicine without proper medical education and a valid registration from the medical council is a criminal offense but neither the local IMA nor the state government showed any interest to go after the reckless “quacks”. Most shockingly, the quack, Mr. Mallick, was hired by major nursing homes owned by bona fide doctors. Despite PBT president directly urging the Superintendent of Police of the concerned area, Mr. P. Tripathi, to arrest the “quack” and deliver speedy justice to protect the innocent citizens, police has not yet arrested the “quack”. It is reported that the accused “quack” has connection with the local leaders of the ruling Trinomool party. PBT will move the higher court if the Serampore police remains idle and allow Mr. Mallick to practice medicine.

Statesman (Dec 11, 2015)

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IMA and its top leaders have been pushing to promote corrupt ex-MCI chief, Dr. Ketan Desai,in the recent years. While Dr. Desai is still waiting for criminal trial for his alleged bribery and corruption back in 2010 (when he was caught red-handed for taking bribe from a private medical college), IMA leaders recently made a blatantly false representation before the World Medical Association (WMA) that all charges against Dr. Desai have been dropped by the Indian authority in order to make Desai WMA president-elect. A PIL filed by PBT challenging the dubious selection of Dr. Desai to become WMA president is presently pending before the Delhi High Court. Even the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) found senior IMA and MCI member, Dr. Ajay Kumar, guilty for professional conduct for helping Dr. Desai to become WMA president-elect and recommended MCI to take disciplinary action against Dr. Kumar and two other MCI members (Dr. Vinay Aggarwal and Dr. Sudipto Roy) although MCI has remained in a deep slumber.

Another brazen brazen attempt by the IMA to save Dr. Desai was exposed last week when in response to an RTI application, PBT was informed by the MCI that the case filed by PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, against Dr. Desai is still pending before the MCI Ethics Committee. Following Dr. Desai’s arrest by the CBI for alleged bribery and corruption, Dr. Saha lodged a formal complaint with the MCI seeking exemplary disciplinary action against him. The MCI Board of Governors (BOG) suspended Dr. Desai’s license to practice for an “indefinite” period pending full investigation vide an order dated 9th October, 2010. Recently, IMA and its general-secretary Dr. K.K. Aggarwal started to make a claim that Dr. Desai’s license has been restored since MCI “revoked” its earlier decision in December, 2013 and dismissed the complaint lodged by Dr. Saha.

The RTI response from MCI, received last week by PBT, has categorically admitted that the complaint lodged by Dr. Saha is still pending before the Ethics Committee. Obviously, under this situation, Dr. Desai’s license to practice medicine is still suspended or it would be improper and illegal for Dr. Desai (or anyone else on behalf of him)to represent himself as a bona fide doctor. How a doctor whose license remains suspended by the MCI can lead world medical body (WMA)? Why IMA leaders are repeatedly lying and distorting truth only to shield Dr. Ketan Desai, the biggest medical mafia in Indian medicine?

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In an open debate before a public forum aired in NDTV today (Dec. 6), top leader of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and several private hospital as well as diagnostic center owners argued that government must impose a “cap” or limit on the maximum amount of compensation that the negligent doctor/hospital may have to pay for causing wrongful death of a patient. Although the doctor-leaders did not explicitly say what would be the amount of this “cap”, IMA has been claiming for a long time that no hospital or doctor should pay more than Rs. 10 lakh for death of a patient under any condition. Dr. K.K Aggarwal, IMA Secretary-general and a long-time close associate of disgraced ex-MCI president Dr. Ketan Desai, attempted to make a laughable argument that IMA is demanding for a “cap” in medical negligence cases not to protect the doctors/hospitals but only for the sake of the “poor” patients of India. The doctor-leaders also asserted that Judges in the consumer courts or even in the Supreme Court are not equipped to adjudicate appropriate compensation in “medical negligence” cases because Judges are not able to understand the complex science of medicine. However, PBT president Dr. Kunal Saha also participated in this discussion through the Internet from his residence in USA and strongly argued that the idea to put a “cap” for compensation in medical negligence cases is totally misguided. Dr. Saha also argued that despite medical rules and regulations, private hospitals and doctors charge exorbitantly and bankrupt many patients and their families, often through bogus testing and medical procedure. He demanded that government should assure strict accountability for all doctors and hospitals if there is any hope to end the rampant incidence of medical practice in India. Mr. Sishir Chand, PBT coordinator in Delhi (Tel: 9810919282) also attended this public forum. The entire NDTV program may be viewed at the following link:

http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/we-the-people/medical-compensation-a-bitter-pill/393754

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The recent “deal” between the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and central health ministry that has already agreed to consider 5 specific demands made by India’s largest medical lobby (IMA) to bring new laws or amendments in the existing laws can be described only in one way that Indian doctors now want their virtual “untouchable” status to be formally recognized by the law. One of major demands made by our healers’ organization (IMA) is that there must be a “cap” or maximum limit on the compensation awarded in medical negligence cases.

We need to think what would happen in the real world if such a law is allowed by the government. Even on the rare occasion when the family of a victim of medical negligence is able to establish that their loved one died solely due to the reckless treatment by the doctor/hospital, they may be able to get a compensation of maximum five or ten lakh rupees as the IMA has claimed. It is a common knowledge today that treatment in a private hospital for few days or weeks even for an ordinary illness may easily cost the patient and his/her family lakhs of rupees as hospital costs and doctors’ fees. Top doctors and hospitals can make a profit of five or ten lakh rupees from each patient in few days or weeks. If the new law to impose a “cap”, as demanded by the IMA, is approved by the government, there would hardly be any reason for any victim to approach the consumer court (under the Consumer Protection Act) to seek damages against the errant doctor/hospital because the long-drawn legal fight may cost the victim more than he can eventually recover from the court – what a travesty of justice that would be for our society. Perhaps more important, such a scenario would be a strong stimulant for all doctors to be even less careful during treatment of their patients. In the end, it would result in more unfortunate death of innocent patients from “medical negligence” across India.

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The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has declared victory in bringing new amendments in several long-standing and patients-protective laws including the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), Clinical Establishment Act (CEA), PCPNDT Act (for preventing female fetuses) and even the Indian Penal Code (IPC). PBT has obtained an email communication from Dr. K.K. Aggarwal, IMA General Secretary and a close ally of disgraced Dr. Ketan Desai, which categorically shows that top IMA leaders met with the Union Health Minister, Mr. J.P. Nadda, on 10th November, 2015 when health minister agreed to act on 5 specific IMA’s demands for bringing changes in the CPA, CEA, PCPNDT and IPC for better protection of doctors (see email communication below between Dr. Aggarwal and other doctors). The IMA has also claimed that Mr. Nadda has already formed a high-power “Committee” to see how legal changes as demanded by the IMA can be implemented soon. Ironically, apart from high-rank government officials from different departments, this “Committee” also has doctor-members from IMA and MCI but nobody to represent the hapless patients of India.

The IMA leaders have also threatened that unless the “Committee” gives their report within 6 weeks and government initiates the process of necessary amendments of law, all doctors will join cease work (“Satyagraha”). The 5 IMA demands include implementation of a “cap” or maximum limit (5 to 10 lakh rupees) of financial compensation that can be awarded by the consumer courts for negligent death of a patient. The IMA has also sought amendments in the PCPNDT Act in order to loosen the power of the criminal law against the unscrupulous doctors who are involved with unlawful sex diagnosis of a pregnant woman only for the purpose of aborting female fetuses. On the other hand, IMA has also demanded that changes in the IPC should also be implemented so that in case any negligent doctor/hospital is challenged or presumed to be threatened by the victim of “medical negligence” or victim’s friends/families, they should be jailed for long time and charged with non-bailable offense. While PBT has always condemned any physical violence against doctors/hospitals because two wrongs cannot never be a right, IMA and medical community must be able to appreciate the underlying reason why ordinary law-abiding citizens sometime resort to violence after losing their loved ones in front of their eyes as a result of gross medical negligence. Lack of any hope of finding justice against the errant doctors by the corrupt and biased medical council is the root cause of most attacks on doctors. PBT has raised strong objection in a letter sent to the health minister by PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha (see below). PBT has also brought this shocking anti-patients development to the attention of the chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health & Family Welfare (see below).

IMA’s Letter (5-point Demand)

Health Ministry letter (Nov 14, 2015)

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On October 9, 2015, Delhi High Court division bench headed by the chief justice announced that an order will be passed on November 2, 2015 as to whether the writ petition (PIL) filed by PBT against the wrongful act by several MCI and IMA leaders to promote disgraced ex-MCI chief, Dr. Ketan Desai, as the WMA president in order to restore his tainted public image and to reinstate him at the helm of Indian medicine. But on November 2 when this matter came up for hearing, division bench abruptly declared that the case is adjourned till January 6, 2016. This PIL was initially filed before the Supreme Court but hearing Mr. M.N. Krishnamani, senior advocate representing PBT, the Apex Court directed that the remedy sought by PBT should be prayed before the appropriate high court. It is noteworthy that the primary allegation in this PIL is against the top MCI/IMA leaders including Dr. Ajay Kumar, present chairman of MCI “Grievance Committee”, who went before WMA and lied that all cases against Dr. Desai have been dropped by the Indian authority based on which Desai was reinstated as the WMA president-elect for 2016.

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While dismissing a number of writ petitions filed by several doctors whose licenses were suspended by the Medical Council of India (MCI) for deliberate misrepresentation and fraud, Division bench of Mumbai High Court has categorically held that MCI has absolute power under the provisions of “Code of Ethics & Regulations, 2002″ to take disciplinary action and cancel or suspend medical registrations of doctors found guilty for medical negligence or ethical violation (see the full HC judgment below). Dr. Bapat Vishnuprasad Madhusudan, Dr. Asmita Desmukh and Dr. Sashikant Patel, all of whom were registered with the Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC), were found prima facie guilty and charged by the CBI for providing fake evidence as attending professor in favor of Melmaruvathur Adiparasakthi Institute Medical Sciences only to obtain MCI recognition of this private medical college in Tamil Nadu. After CBI brought this to the attention of MCI, the doctors were found guilty for ethical violation and their licenses were suspended for a period between 1 and 5 years. But since these doctors were registered with MMC, the guilty doctors moved Mumbai High Court claiming that MCI has no authority to take action against them. After a long contested legal battle for 3 years, Mumbai High Court passed this historic judgment clearly stating that MCI has full authority to take disciplinary action against the errant doctors. It is a routine practice by most state medical councils (SMCs) not to cancel or suspend licenses of doctors who are found guilty by the MCI on the plea that MCI has no authority to take action against doctors who are registered by the state medical council. This judgment unequivocally has held that MCI can take disciplinary action against wayward doctors based on a complaint or after an appeal filed by the aggrieved patients/victims whose complaints are dismissed by the state medical council. PBT welcomes this historic judgment as it will pave the way for appropriate disciplinary action against the delinquent doctors.

Bombay HC Judgment (MCI Disciplinary action) Oct, 2015

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