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'Docs can't play with patients' lives for personal gain'

June 11, 2012 16:19 IST

A doctor cannot play with the patients' lives for personal gain, the apex consumer forum has said while directing an Ayurveda practitioner to pay Rs 7 lakh to the widow of a man, who had died following his treatment with allopathic drugs.

"A doctor is not supposed to play with the lives of people for his personal gain," the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission said adding that the conduct of the Ayurveda practitioner "smacks of negligence".

The NCDRC gave its ruling on errant doctor R R Singh's plea against the Maharashtra State Consumer Commission's order to him to pay Rs 7 lakh compensation to the widow.

Upholding the state consumer commission's order, the NCDRC questioned him as to how did he prescribe allopathic medicines despite having no knowledge of allopathy.

"It is difficult to fathom as to how and why drugs like Betnesol, Decadron and Neurobion were prescribed without consulting an allopathic doctor. It is difficult to understand as to how the petitioner switched over to allopathy without any knowledge of the same.

"His action smacks of negligence...," the bench presided by Justice J M Malik said.

Opposing the Mumbai-based Ayurveda practitioner's plea to the NCDRC, widow Pratibha P Gamare told the commission that her husband died due to his negligence.

She said her husband, admitted in Dr Singh's clinic, developed problems during the night, but the compounder instead of calling him, administered medicines prescribed by him, after which her husband expired.

The counsel for Singh, however, contended before the commission that as per the autopsy, the patient had died a natural death. The NCDRC, however, dismissed Dr Singh's contention, saying "the state Commission rightly held the petitioner guilty of deficiency in service and the amount granted by it in the sum of Rs 7 lakh appears to be just and reasonable."
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