eMedinewS Editorial

Health Care 474 Comments

Can a pediatrician expected to treat an adult?

A private doctor was fined ‘3 lakhs for not attending to Mr. K.L. Guliyani, a Kargil fighter. The details of the cases were covered in national newspapers in front page or in the local city page. I remember, the case which happened when I was the President Elect of Delhi Medical Association and also I was a part of the DMC team which investigated the matter of Orchid Hospital.

As per the reports, Mr. Guliyani who was traveling in a DTC bus was robbed and stabbed by some pickpockets in Janakpuri just opposite the clinic of Dr. Manocha. He was bleeding profusely. Dr. Manocha is a consultant pediatrician. As per the newspaper reports, the bleeding patient was brought to his clinic by passerby. About 50 meters away from Dr. Manocha’s clinic is Orchid Hospital which has got indoor facilities. Dr. Manocha did not have any of these indoor facilities in his clinic and asked them to take the patient to the nearest Orchid hospital. When they (patient) reached the Orchid hospital, he was declared ‘brought in dead”.

We all understand the Supreme Court guidelines that every serious patient must be rendered medical help to save his life, but there are many points which this case raises:

  1. Consumer Rights starts once the patient pays for his or her services. In this case, no fee was paid to the doctor but still the case went to the Consumer Court.
  2. Is a private pediatrician consultant is expected and / qualified  to attend to adult cases in emergency? Are they required to remember how to treat adult patients?
  3. What is wrong if Dr. Manocha had asked to take the patient to the nearest nursing home/hospital which is only 50 meters away from his clinic as there was no way Dr. Manocha could have given any service to an adult patient in his clinic. If he would have attended the patient in his clinic, it would have been a waste of time. In that case, if the patient would have died, allegations would have been that why he was not shifted to the nearest hospital when the Doctor was not qualified to look after the adults.
  4. A patient who died within minutes could have died in his clinic also. There is nothing doctor can do without indoor facilities and emergency equipment facilities.
  5. The only thing a doctor can offer is CPR which is usually not effective in road accident cases or in case of stab injuries. CPR is only effective if a patient dies of heart attack.
  6. The patient who was profusely bleeding required immediate IV fluid and blood transfusion the facility of which can only be provided in a hospital setting.

At the most, it can be a case of ‘error of judgment’ as the pediatrician thought at that moment that it was safer to send him to Orchid Hospital and did not attempt to treat him in his own clinic. I think, this is one matter IMA should look into and fight for doctor’s case and appeal to the High Court.

(With inputs from Dr. R.S. Bajaj, the Consultant Pediatrician, Rohini)

Dr KK Aggarwal
Editor in Chief