District Consumer Court in Bankura (230 km from Kolkata) has held a surgeon (Dr. Mrintyunjoy Pal) and Panacea Hospital guilty for deficiency of service and awarded Rs. 2.1 lakh compensation today to a primary school teacher (Mr. Tapan Sarkar). What is unique in this case is that PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, who is a medical doctor and not a licensed advocate, personally appeared and argued for Mr. Sarkar during his trip to India last month. The consumer court has directed the guilty hospital/doctor to pay the compensation within two months failing which 9% interest would be added. Mr. Sarkar was suffering from pain in the rectum and anal area for which Dr. Pal advised quick surgery. But instead of curing the condition, patient’s problems were aggravated for which he had to rush to a hospital in Chennai for a second surgery. The court has found the surgeon and hospital guilty on several counts including failure to record vital signs, using invalid informed consent and not issuing proper discharge certificate. Dr. Saha strongly argued on the deficiency of services by the accused doctor and hospital. Dr. Saha also personally argued (for wrongful death of his wife, Anuradha) before the Supreme Court of India in 2009 and again in 2013 when he was awarded highest-ever compensation in Indian medico-legal history. There is no doubt that today’s verdict by the Consumer Court in Bankura will bring a ray of hope for all victims of medical negligence. PBT will continue to help the numerous victims of alleged “medical negligence” from all parts of India who have come to PBT in their quest for justice.
Known cronies of disgraced ex-MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai, once again made a brazen attempt to bring him back to the helm of Indian medicine by making false claim before the World Medical Association (WMA) that all criminal charges against Desai have been dropped by the Indian authority in order to make a case to reinstate Desai as WMA president for 2016. After PBT lodged a complaint about this false claim by several senior MCI and IMA leaders including Dr. Ajay Kumar, Dr. Vinay Aggarwal, and Dr. Sudipto Roy, Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) of MCI investigated and found that these top MCI/IMA leaders lied when they claimed before WMA that Desai has been acquitted from all criminal charges. Ketan Desai was caught red-handed 2010 in a sting operation by CBI while taking Rs. 2 crore bribe from a private medical college. After staying in Tihar jail for almost 6 months, Desai has been free on bail since October, 2010 waiting for trial to begin in the main “Trap” case and another corruption case in Lucknow. On 30th October, 2014, the CVO found three MCI/IMA members, Dr. Kumar, Dr. Aggarwal and Dr. Roy, guilty for “unethical” conduct and recommended to the Health Ministry for taking appropriate disciplinary action against the three doctors. Unfortunately, health ministry has remained absolutely silent and showed no interest to take any disciplinary action against the three doctors who continue to sit in the MCI Ethics Committee to deliver judgment on medical negligence and ethics. PBT has submitted a memorandum with the WMA presiden, Dr. Deau of France, yesterday seeking his urgent intervention to remove tainted Desai from the post of WMA president-elect. PBT is also preparing to move a new PIL against these sheer atrocities by leaders of MCI and IMA (see news below).
The Indian Medical Association (IMA), a voluntary organization of doctors, has proposed new guidelines to improve ethical practice by doctors, declared Dr. K.K. Aggarwal, who was elected as the new secretary-general of IMA at a pompous gala during the 89th All India Medical Conference held in Ahmedabad on December 27, 2014. There is no argument that it is a praiseworthy effort for any organization to try to improve ethical practice of medicine in India. But the new proposal by IMA is misconvceived for more reasons than one.
First, IMA has absolutely no legal authority to enforce anything on any doctor. Therefore, anything IMA might propose, even for better practice of medicine, would simply be ignored by members of the medical community who are involved with unethical practice. The power to enforce doctors to do ethical practice is vested only with the Medical Council of India (MCI) that has already framed “Code of Ethics & Regulations” which is mandatory for all registered doctors in India. Rather than making an useless public stunt by proposing new ethical norms for doctors, IMA should send their guidelines to MCI for adding them to the existing “Code of Ethics & Regulations” in order to have any real effect on doctors.
More importantly, the way healthcare in India stands today, IMA has hardly any credibility left to propose guidelines on medical ethics. At the IMA conference in Ahmedabad last week, disgraced ex-MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai, ;was chosen to deliver the inaugural address and he was treated as the supreme leader of IMA by Dr. Aggarwal and other senior IMA members. As most people in India are aware today, Dr. Desai is now free on bail facing serious criminal charges for bribery and corruption. Dr. Desai’s license to practice also remains suspended and he has been barred from participating in any medical conference by MCI since 2010 after he was caught red-handed while taking bribe by CBI. Many senior IMA leaders themselves are also facing serious charges for corruption and unethical practice. Has IMA ever taken any action against any of their delinquent medical colleagues? IMA must first cleanse its own house and try to restore public trust before even thinking to propose ethical guidelines. The latest move by IMA is nothing but an empty political gimmick.
Filled with numerous victims of medical negligence including many doctors, PBT celebrated its 13th Anniversary at Rotary Sadan in Kolkata on December 30, 2014 (see news below). PBT was founded in 2001 by its president, Dr. Kunal Saha, following death of his wife, Anuradha, who died from gross medical negligence by three senior Kolkata doctors, Sukumar Mukherjee and late Abani Roychowdhury and Baidyanath Halder. Retired Major General and ex-Medical Council of India (MCI) president, S.P. Jhingon, appeared as the “chief guest” with another retired Army Chief, General S. Roychowdhury. Gen. Jhingon described his experience as MCI chief several years ago and categorically said that MCI was truly a “den of corruption” as held by Delhi High Court while directing to remove then MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai. Gen. Jhingon further said that although Dr. Desai is not officially a member of MCI at the present moment as he is facing criminal charges for bribery and corruption, the entire council is being run by his cronies at Desai’s direction today. Gen. Roychowdhury said that in order to bring honesty and transparency to the medical council, at least 50% of its members should come from “non-doctor” members in the society. Several doctors who have lost their loved ones from medical negligence also appeared and urged the medical fraternity to wake up and take action against their errant medical colleagues. Dr. Kunal Saha was also present in the program who made scathing criticism of the central as well as state government and blamed that a connivance between the unscrupulous medicos and corrupt government is responsible for the present pathetic condition of healthcare in India. Dr. Saha also demanded that cases of medical negligence must be decided through a fast-track justice delivery system.
In yet another shocking attempt to restore public image of the disgraced ex-MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai, Indian Medical Association (IMA) will be hosting 89th All India Medical Conference in Ahmedabad on 27th December, 2014 where Dr. Desai will be delivering the inaugural speech and the new central health minister, Mr. J.P. Nadda, would appear as the “chief guest” (see IMA announcement below). This blatant move by IMA is not only unethical, it also violates prevailing medical laws in India. Dr. Desai was caught red-handed by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for taking huge bribe from a private medical college in 2010 when he was still working as MCI president. In response to PBT’s appeal, MCI also indefinitely suspended Dr. Desai’s license to practice medicine and barred him from “participating as a doctor in a medical conference anywhere” vide an order dated October 9, 2010. Bringing Dr. Desai to inaugurate the national medical conference in Ahmedabad, IMA has clearly trampled over the direction passed by MCI in 2010. But cronies of Dr. Desai are now occupying top positions in MCI as well as IMA. Little wonder that the same MCI which barred Desai from participating in any medical conference is now paving the way to bring him back to the helm of Indian medicine while he still waits for criminal trial to start. The same IMA/MCI leaders also attempted to push Dr. Desai recently for the prestigious post of World Medical Association (WMA) president through fraudulent claim that all charges against Dr. Desai have been dropped and that his license to practice medicine has also been reinstated by MCI. PBT has submitted an urgent appeal to the health minister today urging him not to attend the medical conference in Ahmedabad to send a strong signal against the growing menace of medical corruption.
Top leaders from political parties of all colors including sitting chief ministers of three different states (Gujarat, Utter Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh) attended a lavish marriage ceremony of Dr. Desai’s daughter held in Ahmedabad on Saturday (Nov. 29). Top medical leaders of MCI including members of the Ethics Committee and leaders of IMA also joined this party to celebrate the marriage of the daughter of the biggest medical mafia in Indian medicine (see news below). This shameless public display of celebration by India’s top political and medical leaders is clearly aimed to express their solidarity and support for the condemned ex-MCI president.
Dr. Desai perhaps played the most heinous role in spreading medical corruption during his long tenure as the head of MCI and IMA. Dr. Desai was arrested by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2010 for taking bribe from a private medical college allegedly in exchange of granting MCI recognition. While Dr. Desai is still free on bail waiting for his criminal trial to begin, it was recently reported that he had several private meetings with the CBI Director, Mr. Ranjit Sinha. Dr. Desai also managed to put his cronies to the top positions in MCI through a botched election last year. However, in response to a recent PIL filed by our organization (W.P. No. 890/2014), Hon’ble Supreme Court issued notice against MCI and Dr. Desai for their role in the allegedly rigged MCI election. The highly publicized, long and sordid saga of Dr. Desai has created a deep distrust for the ordinary people across India against the entire medical community.
Dr. Desai is not only facing serious criminal charges from CBI for bribery and corruption, he is also facing cases for allegedly rigging the MCI election. We are deeply concerned with this recent development because of the shameless patronage shown by top leaders from different political parties in support of Dr. Desai. This raises serious question about extraneous influences trying to shield Dr. Desai and it also sends a wrong signal for the public at large. PBT has submitted an urgent memorandum to the Prime Minister seeking his immediate intervention in this matter to assure equitable justice for tainted Dr. Desai (see below).
It was revealed earlier this month in the course of investigation of the 2G scam that CBI Director, Mr. Ranjit Sinha, personally met with several high-profile accused persons who were being investigated by CBI for corruption including disgraced ex-MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai. In view of possible connivance between Dr. Desai and CBI Director, PBT recently sought information (under RTI Act) from CBI about the meetings that took place between CBI Director and Dr. Desai. The specific information sought from CBI includes:
1. All records of meetings between CBI Director, Mr. Ranjit Sinha and Dr. Desai since his arrest in 2010 including the time, place, notes/diary and reasons for those meetings.
2. All records of meetings, if any, that took place between any CBI Director and/or other top CBI officials and Dr. Desai since his arrest in 2010.
3. All records and meetings that took place between Mr. Ranjit Sinha and other top CBI officials and any political leaders and ministers in relation to CBI case against Dr. Desai.
In response to our RTI queries, CBI has responded with a categorical denial that “No such information (of meetings) is available in the office of Director, CBI”. In other words, CBI has denied that any meeting ever took place between the CBI Director and Dr. Desai since his arrest in 2010. If this information is correct, then the affidavit based on which Supreme Court took cognizance that Mr. Sinha had met influential accused persons including Dr. Desai on several occasions would be false. On the contrary, if the claim made before the Apex Court (through a PIL by Mr. Prashant Bhushan) about alleged meetings between CBI Director and Dr. Desai is true, then it is obvious that CBI has provided us false information in order to shield unlawful activities by their Director.
PBT is planning to lodge an appeal, as permitted under RTI Act, against the seemingly cooked up information provided by CBI. The CBI had goofed up investigation of Dr. Desai in the past after Delhi High Court found him guilty for corruption in 2001. CBI’s previous acquittal also helped Dr. Desai to become MCI president in 2009 but he was again caught red-handed with huge bribe from a private medical college in 2010. Can people of India trust the present CBI to perform a fair and impartial investigation against Dr. Desai? We urge the Home Ministry for their immediate intervention in this deplorable condition in CBI and to assure that Dr. Desai and all his medical cronies are brought to equitable justice (see news below).
Cronies of disgraced ex-MCI president Dr. Ketan Desai who have occupied top positions in MCI through a rigged election (Supreme Court issued notice to MCI and Dr. Desai last two weeks ago against election rigging in response to a PIL moved by PBT) and are running medical regulatory system in India since last December, have claimed that they are investigating 300 doctors for accepting gifts from a drug company in Gujarat in response to an ‘anonymous” complaint. Two long-time close Desai supporters, Dr. Ajay Kumar and Dr. K.K. Aggarwal, who are now part of the MCI leadership, have divulged this information to Times of India yesterday. Ironically, MCI has long been sitting on a complaint against Dr. Ajay Kumar for alleged corruption and criminal conspiracy to shield Dr. Desai. Further, Dr. Kumar and other leaders of Indian Medical Association (IMA) was also found guilty for professional misconduct by the previous MCI for accepting huge amount of money for sponsoring unhealthy commercial soft drink after a Kerala-based eye-surgeon, Dr. Babu, lodged a formal complaint. Shockingly, after Desai cronies came to power at MCI, not only the case against IMA/Dr. Kumar was dismissed, MCI started harassing Dr. Babu and even issued summon to his non-medical wife recently.
In regard to the alleged investigation of 300 doctors, PBT raises the obvious questions: 1) Why MCI accepted a complaint from an “anonymous” person? 2) Why information about this investigation was deliberately leaked to the media? 3) When thousands of complaints from ordinary citizens and victims of medical negligence are kept pending for years, why this particular complaint was taken up expeditiously by the present MCI? 4) Does people like Dr. Kumar and Dr. Aggarwal, who themselves are facing complaints for alleged corruption, have moral right to investigate complaints against other doctors? 5) Why MCI president forced the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) who was investigating Ketan Desai and his cronies including Dr. Kumar? Will the MCI president answer these questions?
In a frenzy of savage rage and anger, large number of medical students and junior doctors at a premier government medical college in Kolkata (Nilratan Ratan Sircar Medical College & Hospital) attacked a 30-year old man who they believed came only to steal a cell phone and brutally beat him after tying him to a post and left him there bleeding. When police came and took the severely injured man to the emergency of the very same hospital only a block away, the unidentified man was already dead (see news below). Ironically, nobody has been arrested by the police even this horrific broad day-light lynching of the modern era. Who are these medical students and junior doctors? One must shudder to imagine that lives of innocent patients of West Bengal will be in the hands of such inhuman and merciless future doctors. PBT has already lodged a formal complaint with the West Bengal Health Department and Govrnor demanding immediate arrest and exemplary punishment of all junior doctors and student who were involved with this case.
All conscientious citizens and supporters of our battle against corruption in medical education and healthcare delivery system are cordially invited to electronically sign an online mass petition which will be sent to the central health minister. This mass petition was launched yesterday through CHANGE.ORG and you can sign the petition to express your support simply by clicking the link shown below or by copying the link to your computer browser. The petition has sought health minister’s urgent attention to stop the wide-spread corruption by several top leaders of MCI and IMA (all are known cronies of Dr. Ketan Desai) who came to power through a botched MCI election and who are now hatching plans to restore the grossly tainted public image of Dr. Desai who is still free on bail and waiting to stand the criminal trial for bribery and corruption. Also, ask all your friends and family to extend their support in this battle against corruption by signing this mass petition. The complete petition can also be seen by clicking the link below:
The historic public interest litigation (PIL) filed by PBT in 2012 seeking a ban on “doctors’ strike” after a nation-wide doctors’ strike was called by Indian Medical Association (IMA) was disposed of today when a three-judge bench of Supreme Court headed by chief justice (CJI), H.L. Dattu, applauded the contentions raised in the writ petition and observed that doctors should never go on a strike putting the lives of innocent patients in danger. However, Apex Court did not restrain doctors to go on strike by imposing specific ban or punishment against the striking doctors. This PIL has argued argued that striking doctors may be punished by the medical council for violation of specific rules framed under Indian Medical Council Act (see the news below)
In a major development against corruption in Medical Council of India (MCI), Supreme Court division bench of Chief Justice Mr. H.K. Dattu and Mr. A.K. Sikri has issued notice against Ministry of Health, MCI and Dr. Ketan Desai today in response to our PIL (W.P. Civil No. 890/2014; PBT vs. Union of India & Ors.). This historic PIL was filed by PBT against rigging in the last MCI election (held in December 2013) under the influence of disgraced ex-MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai. The rigged MCI election has put all Ketan Desai cronies at the top positions in MCI including present MCI president (Dr. Jayshreeben Mehta), vice-president (Dr. C.V. Bhirdanraman) and Ethics Committee members Dr. Ajay Kumar and Dr. Ved Prakash Mishra etc.
This PIL has sought:
1) CBI investigation of the rigged MCI election and prosecution of all MCI members who were involved with this rigged MCI election.
2) The present MCI governing body including its president/vice-president that came to power through the rigged election be dissolved immediately.
3) Amendment in Section 3 of Indian Medical Council Act that has allowed large number corrupt doctors be “nominated” through sinister political connection to become MCI members.
See a complete copy of our PIL below
PBT has obtained documents showing shocking incidence of wide-spread corruption by top leaders of Medical Council of India (MCI) that has forced the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO), Mr. H.K. Jethi, to leave MCI as he was “feeling scared” as was subjected to “physical harassment” while investigating complaints of MCI corruption. In fact, in preparation of Mr. Jethi’s departure from MCI, Health Ministry has already issued a memorandum earlier this month to find a “suitable candidate” for appointment as the new CVO in MCI (see documents below). The Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Health has also reported this for CBI enquiry and claimed that MCI president, Dr. Jayshreeben Mehta, has treated the CVO with a “vindictive attitude” and is seemingly “functioning in an autocratic manner” for protection of “some vested interests”.
The corrupt activities inside MCI and deliberate harassment of the investigating CVO by MCI leaders clearly underscore a pitiful condition of Indian highest medical regulatory body. As we have recently reported, several top MCI members including Grievance Committee chairman, Dr. Ajay Kumar, and Ethics Committee member, Dr. Vinay Aggarwal, along with criminally-indicted ex-MCI chief, Dr. Ketan Desai, attended World Medical Association (WMA) meeting in South Africa in demand of Dr. Desai’s reinstatement as future WMA president. Unfortunately, PBT’s previous complaints against corrupt MCI members to the health ministry have yielded no response. PBT has filed an urgent appeal to the Hon’ble Prime Minister today requesting his imminent intervention for immediate dissolution of the present MCI In view of the new revelation of blatant corruption inside MCI.
Dr. Ketan Desai is presently free on bail waiting for his criminal trial to start facing serious charges from CBI for bribery and corruption as he was caught red-handed in April, 2010 for taking bribe from a private medical college while sitting as MCI president. Complaint by PBT president Dr. Kunal Saha filed in 2010 for unethical behavior against Dr. Desai is still pending before MCI for final decision even though MCI has already suspended Dr. Desai’s medical license indefinitely pending full investigation. Dr. Desai also managed to put all his long-time cronies in top positions in the newly formed MCI through a rigged election held in December, 2014. A new PIL has just been registered by PBT in this regard in Supreme Court.
Shockingly, with pending criminal case and suspended medical license, Dr. Desai attended the World Medical Association (WMA) General Body meeting held last week (Oct. 8-11, 2014) at Durban, South Africa. Even more shockingly, while complaint against Dr. Desai is still pending before the MCI Ethics Committee for final decision, several sitting MCI Ethics Committee members including Dr. Ajay Kumar, Dr. Sudipto Roy and Dr. Vinay Aggarwal also accompanied Dr. Desai to the WMA meeting in South Africa. Top national IMA leaders including their president Dr. Jitendra Patel and secretary Dr. Narendra Saini also accompanied Dr. Desai to South Africa (see picture below). PBT has written to our health minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, about this despicable incidence. Health department must investigate how sitting MCI Ethics Committee members are allowed to publicly accompany a tainted doctor like Dr. Desai who is facing serious charges for unethical conduct along with other pending criminal cases? Can these MCI members (Dr. Kumar, Dr. Roy and Dr. Aggarwal) ever do justice and take appropriate disciplinary against Dr. Desai while they travel to exotic foreign countries together? How Dr. Desai was permitted to leave India while waiting for criminal trial against him to begin? Who paid for their travel, hotel etc. to South Africa? Our health minister must not only give boisterous lectures against pervasive corruption in MCI and Indian healthcare system, he must act now when blatant acts by sitting members of MCI are brought to him. We have already written to the health minister seeking his immediate intervention in this matter.
The BJP government was swept to power with a massive win earlier this year primarily on the “anti-corruption” platform. For ordinary citizens, nothing is more damaging than corruption in healthcare because life and death literally depend on an honest and efficient healthcare delivery system. People were also very hopful when the BJP government chose a medical doctor, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, as the new Health Minister for overhauling the crumbling medical education and healthcare system after years of ruling by an inept UPA government. But almost six months have passed since the new government came to power and there is absolutely no sign that the corrupt medical education and healthcare delivery system are likely to change as except some boisterous speeches by the newly elected BJP leaders, we see no evidence that Dr. Vardhan and his ministry are ready to walk the walk for solving the healthcare crisis.
Earlier this week (Sept. 29), Union Health Minister, Dr. Vardhan, called the press and candidly declared that he wants to bring an end to the inefficiencies and corruption in MCI which is the highest authority to regulate medical education and practice of medicine in India. Ironically, in an interview reported on 7th June, 2014 in Indian Express, Dr. Vardhan also categorically stated that MCI has been a “big source of corruption” and that a clean-up operation for MCI is “on the cards”. Over the past 5-6 months, PBT has also lodged several complaints with the health department for corruption against several top leaders of the present MCI including Dr. Ajay Kumar (chairman of MCI Grievance Committee), Dr. Ved Prakash Mishra (chairman of MCI Academic Council) and Dr. C.V. Bhirmanandam (MCI Vice-president), all of whom are known to be closely associated with disgraced ex-MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai. But PBT is still waiting to receive any response from the Health Minister or anybody in the health department about their serious allegations of corruption against top MCI members.
PBT and millions of hapless Indian patients are happy because Dr. Vardhan has vouched once again that he will tackle corruption in MCI soon. But country’s medical education system is still being run by corrupt MCI leaders. Dr. Ketan Desai just got himself elected as World Medical Association (WMA) president for 2016 using fraudulent documents and candid support from his cronies at MCI. But what our Health Minister is waiting for to cleanse MCI? It’s time that Dr. Vardhan and new BJP government walk the walk and not simply talk the talk like most political parties in India.