GUWAHATI, May 24 - The Assam State Branch of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) today asserted that the data quoted by Dr Ankuran Dutta of the Dr Anamika Roy Memorial Trust on medical accidents in India are totally absurd, imaginary and outrageous.
It has also maintained that the issue should not be dragged any further using defamatory and derogatory terminology against the people engaged in medical profession and requested Dr Dutta and other like-minded people and organisations to move the government with a practical approach. The IMA is always for all such constructive approaches for a better healthcare system in the country, it said.
In a statement here, Dr Satyajit Borah, state secretary of the IMA, Assam State Branch said that the data quoted by Dr Dutta (The Assam Tribune, May 21, 2016) are absurd, Dr Dutta has claimed an absurd figure of two per cent of the reported cases of medical negligence, which constitute around 52 lakh of people. If one calculates the 98 per cent of the unreported cases of medical negligence then the figure comes out to be an astronomical 26 crore, that is – one-fifth of the total population of the country. By simple reasoning and logic, one finds these figures to be unacceptable, said Dr Borah.
Moreover, if 98 per cent of the medical negligence cases go unreported, there arises a legitimate question as to how authentic is this figure, as it is stated that these cases are unreported, or on what basis the assumption has been made in this regard, wondered Dr Borah.
Dr Borah said that he has crosschecked all the references quoted by Dr Dutta and found further confusing figures. The study published by Mukesh Yadav and Pooja Rastogi in a medical journal is a study of 48 cases only of a district consumer court of Delhi and out of these 48 cases only in 15 cases medical negligence was proved and the rest 33 (68.75%) failed to establish any medical negligence.
This paper, however, gives some cross references and the most important is that of Dr Ashish Jha, an Indian doctor from the USA, who was again the main source of reference of a Times of India column on September 21, 2013 written by Kounteya Sinha. However, Dr Jha’s co-authored article published in BMJ Quality and Safety titled ‘The global burden of unsafe medical care: Analytic modelling of observational studies’ does not have any reference to Indian data and Indian figures.
Dr Jha while reportedly giving the figures admitted in the Times of India article, “...we are making estimates based on global average for low and middle income countries, with only a few data inputs from India itself.”
The IMA wonders how an assumption of such an important healthcare delivery parameter as regards to India can be made out of some limited data from a sample of only 26 hospitals from Latin America, North Africa and Eastern Mediterranean countries, and according to Dr Jha in his original article those data were “not of high quality data.”
Dr Borah has sent a mail to Dr Jha, requesting for proper data on the issue from India, if at all available, which is yet to be replied.
Regarding the NDTV programme on medical errors, the IMA said that was a programme where many arbitrary allegations were levelled and within a limited time of TV programme with many participants there was little scope to analyse the allegations properly. “There was no unanimity or conclusions. One horrifying story of a barbaric act of delivering a baby out of mother’s womb, which was labelled as medical negligence, turned out to be done by a non-allopathic doctor or by a quack,” Dr Borah said.
“Over-sensitisation and irresponsible reporting of these issues have led to such a piquant situation that now in almost every complications and death, doctors are looked at with a high degree of suspicion. The situation has resulted in many doctors, even the most sincere and the respected ones, fearing to treat critically ill patients and resulted in unnecessary referrals, especially from the periphery,” Dr Borah said.