ab initio: From the first act

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The meaning of the term “ab initio” in Latin is “from the beginning; from the first act; from the inception”.
An agreement is said to be “void ab initio” if at no time, it had any legal validity. A marriage or act can be unlawful, ab initio. The illegality of the conduct or the revelation of the real facts makes the entire situation illegal ab initio (from the beginning), not just from the time the wrongful behavior occurs.
In case of any complications during treatment, the court may find doctors ‘illegal ab initio’ guilty of negligence, if reports from illegal laboratories have been accepted and the doctors may be prosecuted under appropriate sections of Indian Penal Code for medical criminal negligence.
What this means is that if the first act itself is illegal, then all other subsequent acts need not be taken into consideration.
According to Medical Council of India (MCI) Code of Ethics Regulations, 1.2.1, the physician (registered practitioner) should not associate professionally with persons violating the prescribed code of ethics.
“1.2.1 The Principal objective of the medical profession is to render service to humanity with full respect for the dignity of profession and man. Physicians should merit the confidence of patients entrusted to their care, rendering to each a full measure of service and devotion. Physicians should try continuously to improve medical knowledge and skills and should make available to their patients and colleagues the benefits of their professional attainments. The physician should practice methods of healing founded on scientific basis and should not associate professionally with anyone who violates this principle. The honoured ideals of the medical profession imply that the responsibilities of the physician extend not only to individuals but also to society.”
For example, if any doctor refers patients to an illegal laboratory and treats the patients relying on those reports, it is breach of the Code of Medical Ethics. Another example to explain this is as follows: As per MCI, Pathology is a part of modern scientific medicine, the practice of the same is permissible only to registered medical practitioners with post graduate qualifications in pathology.
The Hon’ble High Court of Mumbai has passed an interim order in PIL No. 28/2005 on 10/10/2007, which clearly states that only a qualified pathologist recognized by Maharashtra Medical Council & MCI can certify pathology laboratory reports.
Doctors (non-pathologists) running in-house illegal laboratory run by technicians or referring patients to the laboratory run by non-pathologists and treating patients relying on those reports. In both these situations, the patients get reports that are not prepared and certified by a pathologist, which is illegal and unethical. This leads to the misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis and affects treatment and health of patients.

Dr KK Aggarwal
National President IMA & HCFI