In a historic and unprecedented order passed against Dr. Alok Khan, an neurosurgeon from Kolkata accused of causing death of a patient from a botched brain surgery, division bench presided by Justice D.K. Jain, president of the National Consumer Forum (NCDRC), has directed Dr. Khan and the nursing home (owned by Dr. Khan) to pay a penalty of Rs. 1 lakh “for their absence before the State Commission as well as for the delay in the complaint attaining finality” (see the NCDRC Judgment below).
Shamali Sikdar, widow of the alleged victim, came to PBT in 2012 seeking help in her quest for justice after her husband died following a botched surgery for a non-malignant brain tumor. Dr. Kunal Saha, PBT president, argued before the State Commission in West Bengal on behalf of the victim while the accused doctor delayed the proceedings for years by not accepting legal notice from the court. The State Commission eventually delivered an ex perte verdict last year awarding Rs. 25.5 lakh (including Rs. 50,000 as legal cost) against Dr. Khan against which the doctor moved the NCDRC. While remanding the case back to the State Commission to give an opportunity to the accused doctor to put up his defense, NCDRC has also directed that the matter must be completed within a period of 6 months. Further, considering PBT’s benevolent attempt to pro bono help for the victim and Dr. Saha’s situation, NCDRC has also directed that the State Commission should consider the fact that Dr. Saha is generally a resident of USA while fixing the hearing dates.
A new writ petition (PIL) is filed in the Supreme Court of India seeking direction to the Medical Council of India (MCI) and Indian government to take steps for immediate removal of disgraced ex-MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai, from the post of World Medical Association (WMA) president. The PIL has also sought stringent disciplinary action against three long-term Desai supporters and senior MCI/IMA members (Dr. Ajay Kumar, Dr. Vinay Aggarwal and Dr. Sudipto Roy) for their blatant lie before the WMA that all charges against Dr. Desai have been withdrawn by the Indian authority that recently prompted the world medical body to reinstate Dr. Desai as WMA president. Dr. Desai is still waiting for his criminal trial to begin in the CBI ‘trap” case after he was caught red-handed for taking 2 crore rupees from a private medical college in exchange of granting MCI recognition to admit MBBS students when Desai was still the MCI president in 2010. PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, has traveled to India to further this and other medico-legal cases and to promote PBT’s continued battle against medical negligence and healthcare corruption. The new PIL is likely to be listed for hearing after the Supreme Court reopens on January 3.
PBT is planning to organize a massive public rally in central Kolkata on Thursday (December 29, 2016) demanding expedited justice for the victims of medical negligence and cleansing of the medical councils that have been riddled with corruption. Despite frequent reports of death of innocent patients from reckless treatment and wide-spread healthcare corruption appearing in the news on a regular basis, hardly any doctor is found guilty by the medical regulatory authorities. Legal proceedings for compensation against the errant doctors are also languishing in the consumer courts for years and decades because large number of consumer complaints against trivial defective commercial products are stacked together with serious cases of death from alleged medical negligence. PBT plans to raise these important issues that are crippling the medical system through peaceful public protest rally starting at 1 pm from Esplanade (Y-Channel) on December 29 2016. All victims of medical negligence and conscientious citizens are invited to join this public rally to make our voice heard for a better healthcare delivery system in the future. PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, will also join this public rally coming from USA. Please contact PBT head office at 9143650171/9831983670/9836706952 for more information.
In a scathing rebuke to the editorial questioning the decision to promote disgraced Dr. Ketan Desai to the post of World Medical Association (WMA) president published last month in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) (see original editorial below),Indian Medical Association (IMA) president-elect, Dr. K.K. Aggarwal, has not only staunchly defended Dr. Desai, he has also viciously attacked the authors of the BMJ editorial and suggested that they criticized Dr. Desai because they all had “vested interests” (see the BMJ correspondences below). However, Dr. Aggarwal, who frequently goes before the media in vociferous support of Dr. Desai, has provided absolutely no evidence as how the editors of a highly regarded international medical journal may have any interest for going against Dr. Desai.
Even more shockingly, Dr. Aggarwal has also said that IMA has already drawn conclusion that Dr. Desai is absolutely innocent in the main CBI bribery case (for which Dr. Desai was arrested in 2010 for accepting Rs. 2 crore from Gyan Sagar Medical College allegedly in exchange to granting MCI permission to admit MBBS students) based on information including internal reports from the health department. Ironically, CBI has already filed charge-sheet in this case with specific evidence of criminal wrongdoing against Dr. Desai who is waiting for the trial to begin. Does IMA leaders know more than the top law-enforcing agency in India or is it only a disgraceful attempt by Desai cronies who are in charge of the IMA and MCI to obstruct the course of justice to sway the course of the criminal trial for Dr. Desai, the biggest medical mafia in Indian medical history?
Doctors across India, under the guidance of IMA leaders who recently backed disgraced ex-MCI president Dr. Ketan Desai to the prestigious post of World Medical Association (WMA) president, have started public demonstration in protest of the proposed National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill that plans to instill new changes for accountability in the widely-known MCI corruption including laws to bring non-doctor members in regulation of medical education and practice of medicine in India. The IMA leaders have demanded that government must bring changes in law so that no doctor can be sued for medical negligence under the Consumer Protection Act (CPA). While the BJP government has proposed many plans over the past two years seemingly for better protection of patients and against medical corruption, almost all of these anti-corruption proposals have proved to be nothing more than empty political gimmick until now. PBT president has called these IMA demonstrations as obvious attempts to further shield healthcare and MCI corruption (see the news at this link http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/bengaluru/2016/nov/16/doctors-to-stage-protest-against-scrapping-of-medical-council-act-1539150.html).
All leaders of the national IMA including its president-elect, Dr. K.K. Aggarwal, are nothing but cronies of the tainted ex-MCI chief, Dr. Ketan Desai. Even most of the leaders of the MCI are also known to be close to Dr. Desai as MCI has remained absolutely silent and refused to take any action against three of their senior members (Dr. Ajay Kumar, Dr. Sudipto Roy and Dr. Vinay Aggarwal) who were found guilty by the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) for unethical conduct in helping Dr. Desai to regain the post of WMA president through blatant lies that all charges against Dr. Desai have been dropped by the Indian authority. PBT has already sent a legal notice to the MCI and is planning to move a new PIL against the rampant corruption in the MCI and IMA. PBT is also organizing nation-wide public awareness programs to bring people to stand up against the wide-spread medical corruption in India.
Disgraced ex-MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai, who was promoted last month to the post of World Medical Association (WMA) was produced in the CBI Court in New Delhi yesterday to face the ongoing criminal trial against him for alleged bribery and corruption (see Reuters report below). Although there was no hearing and the case was adjourned to February 2017, Desai ran away from the courtroom without answering any question and doctor-leaders in the WMA and Indian Medical Association (IMA) also had no response when asked about this new development.
Dr. Desai was chosen to become WMA president in 2009 but after he was caught red-handed by the CBI for taking huge bribe from a private medical college and his medical license was indefinitely suspended by the MCI in 2010, he was removed from the post of WMA president-elect. While Dr. Desai was released on bail after spending six months in jail as he waited for the criminal trial to begin, his medical cronies who are occupying top positions in the IMA and Medical Council of India (MCI) went before the WMA with a fabricated claim that all charges against Dr. Desai have been dropped by the Indian authority. Based on this fraudulent claim by the IMA/MCI leaders, WMA decided to reinstate Dr. Desai as their president last year. Although even the MCI Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) investigated and held that IMA leaders lied before the WMA to make Dr. Desai as the WMA president as PBT repeatedly urged the WMA to remove Dr. Desai from any consideration to become WMA president, they kept blind eyes and went along with the fraudulent claim by the IMA. As the Reuters reports today (see below), neither the IMA leaders including Dr. K.K. Aggarwal, IMA president-elect and a vociferous supporter of Dr. Ketan Desai, nor the WMA leaders had any answer when asked about the court appearance by Dr. Desai today. Will the “honest” doctors of India still remain silent on the face of this broad daylight atrocity by the IMA and WMA and accept the biggest medical-mafia in Indian medicine as president of the WMA?
Home page of the website of Indian Medical Association (IMA), the largest organization of doctors in India, glaringly showers endless accolades in favor of their long-time leader and disgraced ex-MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai, for being selected as the World Medical Association (WMA) president. The world medicine has erupted in strong protest after Dr. Desai, who is still waiting for his criminal trial to begin for alleged bribery and corruption and whose medical license still remains suspended, after Desai was recently promoted to the post of WMA president by virtue of a fabricated claim by the IMA that all charges against Desai have been dropped by the Indian government. PBT has already sent a legal notice to the MCI and Health Ministry urging them to step in to remove Desai from the WMA.
IMA, which is under control of well-known Desai cronies, has attempted to paint the biggest medical mafia of Indian medicine, Dr. Ketan Desai, almost as a saint in Indian medicine. In order to glorify Dr. Desai on his elevation to the post of WMA president, IMA has made a boisterous and unimaginable claim on their website, “Indeed a historical moment of which every Indian would feel proud was when Dr Ketan Desai took over the reins of World Medical Association as its President at 10 am on Friday 21st October 2016 at Hotel Grand Hyatt to a thundering applause by the world professional fraternity.”
While it is true that Dr. Ketan Desai is a well-known name in Indian medicine but only for all the wrong reasons. A simple google search with his name would show countless reports, almost all focusing on his long-standing corruption and his arrest by the CBI for taking a huge bribe from a private medical college in 2010. Ironically, the long and adoring IMA story does not even hint that Dr. Desai was arrested by the CBI or that he is still facing a criminal trial. The shameless drum-beat by the IMA to prop up the most corrupt medical man in Indian history will undoubtedly further erode public trust on Indian medical fraternity. It is high time that the honest and conscientious doctors of India must raise their voice of protest against this unabashed praise of Dr. Ketan Desai.
In a report published today by the popular online journal “The News Minute”, WMA Secretary-General, Dr. Otmar Kloiber and their spokesperson, Nigel Duncan, have claimed that according to their information, all cases against Dr. Ketan Desai have been dropped by the CBI and he has been given acquitted from all charges of corruption by the Indian authority. The WMA had no answer as the reporter simply pointing to the online Indian court site that clearly shows that the “Corruption Cases No. 11/12 of 2012” is still ongoing before Judge Shri Gurdeep Singh at the Patiala Court in Delhi with the last date of hearing on August 3, 2016 (see the full news report below; the report can also be accessed at the link http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/ketan-desais-election-wma-can-ethics-body-have-moral-power-if-it-cant-keep-clean-house.
Desai was installed last week as the WMA president for 2016/2017 through a seemingly fraudulent claim by the top leaders of IMA and MCI including IMA president, Dr. K.K. Aggarwal and MCI Ethics Committee members Dr. Ajay Kumar, Dr. Vinay Aggarwal and Dr. Sudipto Roy, all of whom have been well-known medical cronies for Desai for a very long time. Selection of Desai, perhaps the most corrupt medical man in Indian medical history, as the supreme leader of the world medical body has generated a huge turmoil across the international medical community. People of India are hardly any strangers to the news of corruption in our healthcare and medical education system. But the bigger question that must be raised is why the “foreign” leaders of WMA played along with this corruption to make the tainted Indian doctor as the WMA president?
In a shocking development exposing the pervasive nature of medical corruption beyond India, disgraced ex-Medical Council of India (MCI) president, Dr. Ketan Desai, was selected as the new WMA president yesterday (see news below). Dr. Desai was caught red-handed for taking huge bribe from a private medical college (when he was still MCI president) in a sting operation by the CBI in April, 2010. After spending more than 6 months in jail, Dr. Desai was released on bail as his medical license was also suspended for indefinite period by the MCI after PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, lodged a complaint for “professional misconduct” under the provisions of MCI Code of Ethics & Regulations, 2002. While Dr. Desai is still waiting for his criminal trial to begin and his medical registration remains suspended, he and his medical cronies in the MCI and IMA managed to make him president of the largest international medical organization using their political influence and evil power of corruption.
While imposing an indefinite suspension of Dr. Desai’s license, members of the newly formed MCI in 2010 (after MCI was dissolved and all members of Desai’s MCI were removed under mounting public pressure following Desai’s arrest) also directed that Dr. Desai is debarred from representing any medical group or association. With a sinister motive to repair Desai’s grossly tainted public image and to influence the outcome of his criminal prosecution, senior members of MCI/IMA including Dr. Ajay Kumar, Dr. Sudipto Roy, Dr. Vinay Aggarwal (all IMA and MCI Ethics Committee members) and long-term Desai supporter and newly elected IMA president, Dr. K.K. Aggarwal, went before the WMA and made a false claim that all charges against Dr. Desai have been dropped by the Indian authority based on which WMA decided to make Dr. Desai president of the world medical body in the most blatant and corrupt manner. Even the MCI Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) categorically found that the senior MCI/IMA members lied before the WMA to help Dr. Desai and directed the health department to take disciplinary measures against these sitting members of MCI/IMA in a scathing report in October, 2014 (see below). Almost two years have passed, MCI and Health Ministry have remained in a deep slumber and refused to take any steps to stop the biggest medical mafia of Indian medicine and a criminally-indicted Dr. Ketan Desai from assuming the prestigious post of WMA president. PBT has sent a legal notice to the MCI president and a well-known Ketan Desai crony, Dr. Jayshree Mehta, asking her to take immediate measures, as directed by the MCI in their order of Dr. Desai’s license suspension of 2010, to remove Dr. Desai from this unlawfully acquired post of WMA president. If the MCI and Health Ministry fail to take any action, PBT will move the appropriate court of law to bring an end to this sheer atrocity that has shaken the core of Indian and world medical community.
Rabindranath Tagore Heart Institute, a top cardiac center in Kolkata, and their senior cardiologist, Dr. J. Naik, were found guilty for causing death of a retired Wing Commander, Mr. Robin Saram Verma, following an ordinary coronary angiogram (CAG) after obtaining an invalid “informed consent” from the patient without properly explaining the associated risks involved with the procedure. The three-judge bench has awarded a compensation of Rs. 3 lakh plus Rs. 25 thousand (as legal cost) to be paid by the doctor and hospital within 45 days failing which 9% interest would be added to the compensation (see news below). The observation made in this judgment may have major implications in other cases of medical negligence involving botched “informed consent”. Doctors are duty bound to obtain a valid “informed consent” from the patient/patient-party before undertaking any medical/surgical procedure after fully explaining the possible risks associated and also other options for treatment. Unfortunately, most doctors and hospitals in India blatantly violate the rules for obtaining a proper “informed consent” because they are hardly ever brought to justice for failure to obtain a properly implemented “informed consent”.
Jayeeta Verma Sarkar, daughter of the deceased military man,came to PBT in 2010 following the negligent death of her father seeking help in her quest for justice for her departed father. Over the past six years, Ms. Sarkar has not only launched a recentless fight against the powerful hospital and doctor, she has also joined PBT as an ardent volunteer to help other victims of medical negligence. Ms. Sarkar is now also a member of the PBT Executive Committee and has been deeply involved with helping other victims of medical negligence. The MCI also found Dr. Naik guilty for professional misconduct in 2014 and directed the Orissa Medical Council to cancel his medical license but the state medical council has refused to take any action against the errant doctor until now.
Dr. K.K. Aggarwal, a Delhi-based doctor and long-time supporter of the disgraced ex-MCI chief, Dr. Ketan Desai,has been elected to head the largest lobby for Indian doctors (IMA) for 2016-2017. Dr. Aggarwal has been an inside player and highly controversial figure in Indian medicine as he has been closely associated with tainted Dr. Ketan Desai for a very long time. Even after Desai was arrested for alleged bribery by the CBI and removed from the MCI in 2010, Dr. Aggarwal and a few other old medical friends of Dr. Desai including Dr. Ajay Kumar, Dr. Vinay Aggarwal and Dr. Sudipto Roy, have been deeply involved in defending and promoting Dr. Desai as he remain free on bail awaiting criminal trial to begin in the CBI court in Delhi.
Most recently, PBT lodged a formal complaint with the Supreme Court appointed MCI “Oversight Committee” against these four top IMA leaders including Dr. Aggarwal for helping Dr. Desai to regain the post of World Medical Association (WMA) president as they lied before the world medical body that Dr. Desai has been exonerated from all charges by the Indian authority (CBI) based on which Desai was reinstated as WMA president. Even the MCI Central Vigilance Officer (CVO) upheld PBT’s allegations against the senior doctors and asked MCI president to take appropriate disciplinary action against them. But MCI president has remained absolutely silent and refused to take any disciplinary action against any of these Desai defenders.
Ironically, Dr. Aggarwal, as he has openly boasted on his web page, is also the brother-in-law of Mr. Mukul Rohatgi, Attorney General of India. With this close nexus and direct family ties between the top legal man for the Indian government and the top medical man of IMA, we are anxious whether victims of medical negligence and healthcare corruption will be facing even stiffer challenges in their quest for justice. We are also concerned because there is an obvious appearance of a conflict of interest for proper prosecution of Dr. Desai, the biggest mafia of Indian medicine, by the CBI advocates who are under control of the Attorney General.
PBT has filed a formal complaint today with the Supreme Court appointed MCI “Oversight Committee” headed by Retd. Apex Court Justice Mr. R.M. Lodi, demanding immediate removal and appropriate disciplinary action against several top MCI members including president Dr. Jayashreeben Mehta, Ethics Committee members Dr. Ajay Kumar, Dr. Vinay Aggarwal, Dr. Sudipto Roy and Dr. K.K. Aggarwal, who is also IMA Secretary-General. These high-ranked MCI leaders have been involved with protection and deliberate promotion of disgraced ex-MCI chief, Dr. Ketan Desai, who is still waiting for his criminal trial to begin for alleged bribery and corruption since he was arrested by the CBI in April, 2010 (see PBT’s complaint below).
Using their high official position in the MCI/IMA, these doctor-members went before the World Medical Association (WMA) in 2013 and blatantly lied that all charges against Dr. Desai have been dropped by the Indian authority so he should be reinstated as the WMA president-elect (Dr. Desai was removed from WMA president-elect position following his arrest by the CBI in 2010). After PBT president lodged a complaint with the CBI, the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) for MCI, Mr. H.K. Jethi, investigated and held Dr. Kumar/Dr. Aggarwal/Dr. Roy guilty for unethical act and lying before the WMA to help Dr. Desai regain the post of WMA president. The CVO also directed the MCI president to take appropriate disciplinary action against against the three senior MCI members. Almost two years later, MCI president has shoved this matter under the rug and refused to take any action against the “guilty” MCI members. We hope that the Oversight Committee will take prompt action against the corrupt MCI members soon to rebuild public trust in our crumbling medical regulatory system.
Let to MCI Oversight Committee (September 2016)
In a historic judgment delivered by Supreme Court Justices Mr. Dipak Mishra and Mr. U.U. Lalit that may have far-reaching effect on negligent treatment of critically ill patients in intensive care units (ICUs) across India, Apex Court has directed to implead the Medical Council of India (MCI) as well as the central and state governments and issued notice to the MCI, central government and Health Secretaries of all state governments seeking to explore the guidelines, if any, for proper treatment in the ICUs (see TOI news below).
This case involves horrific death of a young woman, Sunanda Mondal, following a caesarean delivery at the Wellness Nursing Home in Kalyani, 40 km from Kolkata, under the care of Dr. Rita Sinha. The patient was left virtually unattended in ICU for three days before shifting her to a super-speciality hospital in Kolkata in a moribund condition where she eventually died from alleged acute liver failure. The devastated middle-class family came to PBT seeking help in the quest for justice. Guided by the PBT, they lodged a case before the National Consumer Court (NCDRC) seeking a compensation of about Rs. 2 crore. PBT founding-president, Dr. Kunal Saha, personally appeared before the NCDRC during his last trip to India in December, 2015 to argue on behalf of the Mondal family. Although NCDRC summoned the accused doctor but refused to grant any time to Dr. Saha to argue the case further since he was not available during next hearing in April, 2016. It is well-known that since its inception of PBT in 2001, Dr. Saha and his organization have been helping countless victims of medical negligence in their search for justice in the most unselfish fashion without ever charging any fee for their service. In fact, Dr. Saha routinely spends lakhs of rupees from his own pocket to travel to India and argue legal cases on behalf of hapless victims of medical negligence.
Unfortunately, NCDRC dismissed Mondal’s case in May, 2016 with a cryptic order without looking into the merit of the case that the patient was left virtually untreated in the ICU following the caesarean delivery. The NCDRC also made unfortunate aspersations about the intent of Dr. Saha to help the Mondal family. Mondal’s family lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court challenging the NCDRC’s judgment and the Apex Court passed this historic order issuing notice not only to the accused doctor but also to the MCI, central and state governments to probe the status of general treatment in ICUs across India. It is a common knowledge that there is no guidelines or scientific basic protocol for treatment in ICUs by doctors in India. Many ill-equipped nursing homes and hospitals take a ride on the vulnerable and critically ill patients by treating them by careless doctors without any repercussions causing untimely death of countless patients. We hope that specific attention on this issue by the Supreme Court would bring much needed changes in our medical system to save lives of the innocent patients across the country.
TOI (Aug 19, 2016)
It is reported by the media today that Modi Govt. is hatching a new and big plan to overhaul the Medical Council of India (MCI) by stripping their supreme healthcare regulatory authority (as per the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956)and to replace it with a different independent body for better efficiency and to avoid conflict of interests (see below). This would be a hugely positive change the way it has been painted by the government but will it? Or is it another familiar story of putting the old wine in a new bottle?
Since the BJP-led Modi government came to power, there has been little or no evidence that they are eager to cleanse the long-standing rot inside the MCI and entire healthcare delivery system except perhaps the recent introduction of the 3-member Oversight Committee to look into the function of the MCI. But Modi government had nothing to do with the Oversight Committee as it was formed at the specific direction of the Hon’ble Supreme Court – last hope for justice for the millions of hapless patients in India. In fact, like the previous Congress-led government, corruption has continued to thrive in medical education and healthcare delivery system during the tenure of the Modi government. Despite PBT’s repeated appeals and lawsuits (PILs) against the MCI and Health Ministry, disgraced and criminally-indicted ex-MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai, is still pulling all the strings inside the MCI. Government has remained a silent spectator as Dr. Desai is promoted to the prestigious post of the president-elect for the World Medical Association (WMA) by top medical leaders in the MCI and IMA despite Dr. Desai’s medical registration remains suspended since his arrest by the CBI in 2010. We have seen no real action against any of the corrupt members in the healthcare system by the present government. We hope that the proposed change to dismantle the corrupt MCI is done without any sinister motive by the government only to save the vulnerable patients and not to hoodwink the ordinary people of India.
Financial Express (July 16, 2016)
In a scathing article published this month on different healthcare scandals across the globe, the Washington, DC-based “Center for Global Development” has reported wide-spread corruption with major government healthcare projects in India (see full report below). While the report has underscored scandals and stealing of millions of dollars from important healthcare projects by unscrupulous medical personnel and government officials in different countries, the 61-page article has specifically reviewed the pitiful medical situation in India (see page 14-20 in the report). The World Body has reported that huge amount of money provided by the World Bank was looted by the corrupt officials involved with the HIV/AIDS projects regulated by the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) as well as the Malaria Control and Child Health projects in India. The report has highlighted that how connivance between the high-rank government officials and debauched private healthcare professionals has ripped off enormous amount of money from the benevolent medical projects in India. Defining as “serious indicators of fraud and corruption”, this report by a reputed international body has cited the specific example of serious complaints raised by PBT president and US-based HIV/AIDS specialist, Dr. Kunal Saha, who investigated allegations of fraud with HIV test kits in India as a member of the World Bank investigation team (see page 14-15). PBT has long been fighting against healthcare corruption in India through public interest litigations (PILs) and awareness programs across India.
Review (Health Corruption) Washington DC June, 2016 (HIV-Saha)