Three doctors suspended for 3-6 months in 38 years

At least 477 patients died allegedly because of medical negligence in eight years till 2016 while the Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council punished only three doctors with suspension of registration on such charges in the past 38 years.
According to a recent report of rights group Ain o Salish Kendra, 517 people either died or had severe physical complications because of alleged negligence on the part of doctors during treatment between October 2008 and February 2016.
The figure was almost the same between June 1995 and September, 2008.
The council, the statutory regulatory body of the physicians, found three physicians guilty of negligence in treatment and suspended their licence for three to six months in the past 38 years, said its registrar Dr ZH Basunia.
No information about such punishment, if any, given before 1980, when the Bangladesh Medical Council transformed into the Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council under the Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council Act 1980, could be gathered.
Health experts said that the medical negligence continued to take its toll on patients because of the council’s failure to regulate the doctors, as it became a powerless institution.
They also slammed the government for the proposed health care bill which got severe criticism for proposing indemnity to doctors, other healthcare providers,
hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centres from prosecution for their negligence.
Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Zafrullah Chowdhury said that the council must investigate the allegations of medical negligence with transparency stopping ‘under the table’ negotiations between the victims and doctors.
Basunia, however, claimed that the council usually investigated all the allegations it received independently and punished doctors found guilty of negligence.
‘Patients come to BMDC after a long time of the incident and it becomes tough for them to find evidences of alleged medical negligence,’ he said.
Health minister Mohammad Nasim said that the council did not get allegations and complaints from the victims in most cases.
‘As an independent organisation it has been actively working in regulating doctors since we have assumed power,’ he said.
According to the council data, 19 allegations were lodged against 16 doctors, hospital officials and three hospital authorities between November 20, 2016 and March 11, 2018.
Council data showed that the investigations into 16 of the 19 allegations continued while the council disposed of the rest three allegations.
In one of the cases, it found Shahbuddin Medical College gynaecology and obstetrics professor Quorrata Eynul Forhad guilty and suspended her licence for six months on June 17, 2017, commission data showed.
Middle Badda resident Nahian Mostafa lodged the complaint with the council on April 1, 2017 as his newborn baby died during a caesarean-section.
In the rest two resolved cases, the council ‘mediated’ between the victims and the alleged physicians after its investigation failed to prove the allegations, said a high council official.
On June 17, 2017, the council also suspended the registration of Uttara Adhunik Medical College and Hospital surgery professor Omar Ali for three months for medical negligence. The complaint was lodged on October 5, 2015.
The council earlier suspended the licence of another doctor for negligence, the data showed.
On April 13, 2018, two women died at a private hospital, DMT Safeway Hospital, in Sylhet city allegedly for wrong treatment and negligence in providing treatment during their caesarean section.
The staff and doctors of the hospital, jointly run by physicians of Bangladesh and India, fled the scene after the death of the women.
The incident occurred when a newborn’s head was severed and the mother’s uterus was cut during a caesarean section in Comilla on March 18.
Later, the High Court on April 4 constituted a two-member committee comprising national professor gynaecologist Shahla Khatun and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University gynaecology department head Parvin Fatema to investigate the matter.
Terming the council a ‘dependent’ and ‘inactive’ organisation, former Bangladesh Medical Association president Rashid-e-Mahbub said that the government should support the council to act like a strong regulatory body of physicians.
‘BMDC should act strongly and actively to regulate the doctors as well as the health sector, otherwise people would lose their faith in the medical sector of the country,’ he said.
He also suggested patients to file cases with courts along with lodging complaints with the council, if they became victims of any ‘wrong treatment.’
Zafrullah Chowdhury said that thre should be a registration system for all the death cases in hospitals which might be termed ‘Hospital Death Registration.’
‘Under the system, all the death cases have to be investigated by hospital and other authorities,’ he said.
He slammed government for the proposed health care bill terming it ‘doctors’ protection bill’ as it would indemnify doctors, other healthcare providers, hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centres from prosecution for medical negligence.
‘Of course, attacks on doctors must be prevented, but such bill to deny the victims’ right to go to courts to seek redress of medical negligence should not be passed’, he said.
Nasim, however, said that the bill was necessary to protect the doctors from the agitated attendants of patients.

Source: New Age.

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