India Alert: Doctor Sentenced to Death for Ordering Unnecessary Scan

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This is an extreme (much more than Aamir Khan’s programme suggested!) but, a lesson for Indian doctors who keep on ordering scans (and all kind of tests) even before the patients opens his/her mouth, says Prof. Anand N. Malaviya. This judgment would “serve as warning to the medical community.

As per the news published in Medscape, Dr. Philip Bird, a GP in Oxford, Mississippi was sentenced to death by lethal injection for ordering an MRI on a patient with uncomplicated low back pain. The verdict was given under the state’s new “get tough” 3-strikes law. Bird twice previously was found guilty of ordering unnecessary scans: a CT for a woman reporting pregnancy-related tension headache and a bone scan for a patient with localized prostate cancer.

3 strikes law

1. Definition: Criminal statutes that mandate increased sentences for repeat offenders, usually after three serious crimes.

2. In early 1990s United States began to enact mandatory sentencing laws for repeat criminal offenders. These statutes came to be known as “three strikes laws,” because they were invoked when offenders committed their third offense.

3. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld three strikes laws and has rejected the argument that they amount to Cruel and Unusual Punishment.

4. Washington passed the first three strikes law in 1993 under which anyone convicted of three separate violent felonies must be sentenced to life in prison with no Parole.

5. California followed, in 1994, by enacting a three strikes law that mandates a sentence of 25 years to life for a third felony conviction.

6. California law counts nonviolent felonies, such as Burglary and theft, as “strike” offenses. By 2001 over 50,000 criminals had been sentenced under the new law, with almost one-quarter of the inmates facing a minimum of 25 years in prison. California’s law has drawn the most attention in the debate over three strikes statutes.