Adopt a code of conduct while posting on social media

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Recently, Indian Medical Association (IMA) received an email regarding a doctor at Kosmopolitan Charitable Dialysis Center (Mumbai) threatening to “chuck out” Hindu patients and letting them die in a post on social media (Facebook).

We asked Team IMA Maharashtra to immediately form a three member committee and visit the dialysis center to find out the details and credentials of Aneeqa Ghani. The said person is not a member of the IMA or registered with the Maharashtra Medical Council. An inquiry needs to be conducted to establish if the person is a genuine doctor or a quack and whether the person is a qualified Allopathic doctor or an Ayush doctor? If not, then in what capacity is she working in the Dialysis center?

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The matter has been referred to the Maharashtra Medical Council and the Medical Council of India (MCI).

Our laws do not allow discrimination on the grounds of religion to anybody and have made it a punishable offence.

As doctors, we have a duty to treat all patients equally. Regulation 7.15 of the MCI Code of Ethics Regulations has said as follows: “The registered medical practitioner shall not refuse on religious grounds alone to give assistance in or conduct of sterility, birth control, circumcision and medical termination of Pregnancy when there is medical indication, unless the medical practitioner feels himself/herself incompetent to do so.”

Doctors are expected to abide by the Declaration signed at the time of making an application for registration under the provisions of the Indian Medical Council Act, which says, “I will not permit considerations of religion, nationality, race, party politics or social standing to intervene between my duty and my patient (d).”

Freedom of religion is guaranteed under Article 15 ‘Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth’ and also Article 25 ‘Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion’ of the Constitution of India.

The Indian Penal Code (IPC) also has provisions pertaining to offences relating to religion under Section 153A and Section 295A.

Section 153A IPC. “Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony. (1) Whoever— (a) by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise, promotes or attempts to promote, on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community or any other ground whatsoever, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities, or (b) commits any act which is prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities, and which disturbs or is likely to disturb the public tranquillity,… shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.”

Section 295A IPC. “Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs. Whoever, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of citizens of India, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise, insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.”

Individuals who impersonate as ‘doctors’ endanger the lives of people who trust them with their care. This is why IMA is demanding a stringent Central anti-quackery law and punishment for quacks.

As a doctor, such statements violate the spirit of the ethics of the medical profession. Beneficence i.e. for the benefit of others; for doctors ‘others’ means our patients, and nonmaleficence (do no harm) are the basic principles of bioethics that govern the practice of medicine.

Regulation 1.1.2 of the MCI Code of Ethics Regulations says, “… Who- so-ever chooses his profession, assumes the obligation to conduct himself in accordance with its ideals. A physician should be an upright man, instructed in the art of healings. He shall keep himself pure in character and be diligent in caring for the sick; he should be modest, sober, patient, prompt in discharging his duty without anxiety; conducting himself with propriety in his profession and in all the actions of his life.”

In addition to the legal implications, this story also underscores the importance of etiquettes or adopting a code of conduct while posting on social media. One should refrain from posting personal or derogatory comments on public online platforms such as Facebook. Post any story or comments responsibly using sound judgement.

Despite the existence of privacy options, many items published in social media are publicly accessible. Assume that no sites are fully private.

Be polite and respectful of others opinions, especially when discussions become heated. Also, be aware that inappropriate conduct can negatively affect your reputation and put you in legal trouble.

Before posting any story or comment, always ask yourself “Is it the truth; is it necessary and will it bring happiness to me and the others”. If the answer to any of these questions is no, then do not post it.

Rotavirus, one of the leading causes of diarrheal infections in India

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• Accounts for about 40% of all diarrhea cases
• Rotavac introduced to combat the spread of this infection among infants and young children
New Delhi, 21 June 2017: Statistics indicate that one of the leading causes of moderate-to-severe diarrhea in India is Rotavirus and accounts for about 40% of all diarrhea cases requiring treatment. More children across India die due to diarrhea than AIDS, malaria, and measles combined. It has also been estimated that India alone contributes to 22% of all global diarrheal deaths in children below 5 years. Among those more vulnerable include malnourished children and those with poor access to medical care.

Between 80,000 to 1,00,000 children die in India annually due to Rotavirus diarrhea and another 9 lakh are admitted to the hospital with severe diarrhea. A highly contagious disease, Rotavirus is spread when a child comes in contact with infected water, food, or hands. This is known as the fecal-oral route. This virus can survive for long periods of time on hands and various surfaces. This condition also increases the risk of dehydration in very young children.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, National President Indian Medical Association (IMA) and President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Dr RN Tandon – Honorary Secretary General IMA in a joint statement, said, “Rotavirus attacks the villus tip cells of the small intestine, obstructing digestion and absorption. Once the villi become blunted, the malabsorption of carbohydrates leads to diarrhea. In young infants and children, this infection can further cause severe diarrhea, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and metabolic acidosis. The virus is shed in high concentration in the stool of the infected children. They can easily catch an infection by touching something that is contaminated and then putting their hands in the mouth. The risk of infection is more in hospitals and day care settings.”

Last year, the health ministry launched India’s first, indigenous rotavirus vaccine called Rotavac. Developed indigenously under a public-private partnership between the Ministry of Science Technology and the Health Ministry, this vaccine is expected to significantly reduce hospitalization and other conditions associated with diarrhea due to Rotavirus infection.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, said, “Making this vaccine free of cost is indeed a great move by the government. It is immensely important for the health and well-being of children in the country. Apart from vaccination, it is important to create awareness on maintaining adequate hygiene and sanitation and also ensure access to clean drinking water to avoid any such infections from spreading.”

Here are some tips to prevent Rotavirus infection from spreading.
• Maintain proper hygiene around the house. Clean all surfaces and the floor thoroughly.
• Wash your hands after you change the infant’s diaper or use the washroom.
• Practice food safety at home.
• Drink clean water and keep all containers closed.

Picture Abhi Baki Hai, Mere Dost…

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The “Dilli Chalo” movement organized by the Indian Medical Association on the 6th of this month was a resounding success. The capital witnessed a huge nation-wide participation of doctors. More than one lakh doctors were connected to each other that day and achieved the required critical mass of 1% of collective consciousness.

I will here try to elucidate on what is “collective consciousness”. Some of you would be familiar with the term.

Consciousness is an energized field of information with powers to do everything in the universe. Collective consciousness is the internet of the collective souls of many people in a group and is the strongest superpower ever available in the universe. As per the Vedic texts, whatever is the intent of collective consciousness will become a reality.

Scientifically speaking, collective consciousness is based on the principle of critical mass, which is 1% of the defined population under study.

The origin of the critical mass comes from “100th monkey phenomenon”.

“Long ago in Japan a monkey called Emo used to eat dirty apples everyday picked up from the ground. One day by accident the apple fell down in a river, the dirt got washed off and he ate the washed apple. Obviously it tasted delicious. The monkey started washing the apple thereafter every day before eating. His fellow monkeys started following the same. The process of following went on. When the 100th monkey washed the apple and ate it, a strange phenomenon was noticed. All monkeys in and around that state started washing the apple before eating.” This 100thmonkey was the critical mass.

Once this mass is crossed, the information will spread like a wild fire and the intent becomes a universal reality. The Merriam Webster English Dictionary gives the meaning of critical mass as “a size, number, or amount large enough to produce a particular result”.

We are not criminals and no criminal prosecution clause should be made applicable to medical professionals as also in the West Bengal Clinical Establishments (Registration, Regulation and Transparency) Bill 2017 and now in the recently passed Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Amendment Bill 2017.

We need to remain true to the spirit of “IMA 1 Voice”. Our focus should not shift. We should not weaken in our resolve to achieve justice for the medical fraternity in the country.

Today “Dilli Chalo” has proven our strength as IMA 1 Voice. Now is the time to sustain and further strengthen the IMA 1 Voice movement.

I ask all those who attended or participated digitally in the movement to become IMA brand ambassadors and speak out about IMA all across the country.

We achieved the required critical mass of 1% of collective consciousness on 6th June. People have been sensitized. But, this is not the end of the road for us. Lot more needs to be done. What decisions we take now will be crucial.

Here I am reminded of that iconic line from the Shahrukh Khan movie ‘Om Shanti Om’… “Picture abhi baki hai, mere dost…

Yes, picture abhi baki hai, mere dost…

Our next slogan is “Do not force us to go to a nation-wide strike from 18th August”.

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