No license to kill January 17, 2011Posted by Dreamhealer in Big Pharma.
Medicines can cure, but they can also kill. This can happen if the dosage is wrong, the doctor’s diagnosis is incorrect, or if there is a severe adverse reaction. No one knows this better than a physician.
Yet, there are medical professionals who routinely and carelessly prescribe medications without even bothering to examine the patient or make a proper diagnosis based on scientific principles. Two years ago, the apex consumer court had taken a very serious view of such conduct and held that it would constitute negligence and that the doctor would be liable for the consequences. Now, in another somewhat similar case, it has sent out a clear signal to physicians that it would not condone such negligent, callous, unethical and unprofessional behaviour.
The latest case centres on the unfortunate and untimely death of a young boy of nine, from an adverse drug reaction. What makes this case so tragic is the fact that the doctor who prescribed the medicine without any application of mind, later failed to recognise that the child was suffering from an adverse drug reaction and thus did not treat him for it in time.
The case, which dates back to 1997, shows how the doctor prescribed a medication for malaria without even examining the child or confirming the diagnosis through tests. Even the dosage prescribed was on the higher side. Worse, when the child was brought back with symptoms of adverse drug reaction, the doctor failed to diagnose it and prescribed once again the same medicine, which eventually led to the boy’s death.
Holding the doctor guilty of negligence, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission upheld the award of compensation (Rs 2.6 lakh along with interest at 7 per cent calculated from the date of filing the complaint) to the parent. [Dr (Mrs) V.C. Bendale vs Leela Veerajaneyulu, RP No 586 of 2006, decided on December 16, 2010].
Two years ago, in the case of Dr V.K. Ghodekar vs Smt Sumitra Pralhad Korgaonkar (RP No 1727 of 2002, decided on 22-5-2008), the apex consumer court had taken to task a medical practitioner for prescribing a medication for diabetes without a proper confirmatory test (blood test) and without informing the patient of the side effects of the drug, resulting in the patient suffering from severe hypoglycaemia, which eventually resulted in his death.
These orders should serve as a warning to all those physicians who forget that any irresponsibility on their part could lead to the loss of a precious life.