MUMBAI: The tussle between the Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) and the state government has put the fate of over 600 medical negligence cases in limbo. Some of these cases have been pending for 8 to 10 years.
MMC is practically the only forum where patients can lodge their grievances — related to death, disability or dissatisfaction of a patient during or after a medical procedure and ethical issues — if they don't want to approach the court first. It has been at loggerheads with the government over the delay in announcement of elections since its tenure ended on May 21. TOI has learnt that the elections are unlikely to be held before next year.
Citizens, meanwhile, are confused whether or not to approach the MMC now. A 39-year-old housewife from Worli wanted to lodge a complaint against her gynaecologist
for injecting her with a wrong drug that rendered her immobile for over three years. "At the MMC office, I was told the case could take longer as MMC's authority has come under question. The government should provide us an alternative platform if MMC does not have the power," she said.
MMC's executive member Dr Shivkumar Utture said the present committee will continue to work till a day prior to the formation of the new one. "As per the MMC Act, the body, much like the Rajya Sabha
, is a continuous one and not subject to dissolution," he said.
Interestingly, Dr Pravin Shingare, head of the Directorate of Medical Education and Research
, said the existing MMC members can decide cases, but anyone unhappy with their decision can approach the state directly. "We are not going to stop them from hearing cases as long as the aggrieved parties are happy with the outcome," he said. He added that the returning officer for the MMC election has been appointed.
The council has been miffed with the state for appointing the registrar of Maharashtra's ayurveda council
Dr Dilip Wange as MMC's registrar, despite knowing well that MMC, which comprises allopathy doctors, has been at the forefront of the fight against quackery. The state also recently formed a committee to analyze their past decisions and found that a majority did not "conform" to the rules. The MMC has now been served a notice to explain itself.