Consumer court sees 400% rise in medical negligence cases

09 December, 2015

A recent study by National Law University, Bangalore, has found that there has been 400% rise in the number of medical negligence cases filed in consumer courts. On the same background, when the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) conducted a survey among 1,200 resident doctors on what they thought was the primary reasons behind the rise in medical negligence, 30% doctors felt that it was due to the over expectation of relatives who felt it is the obligation of doctors to make patients 100% fit after they pay high medical expenses.

MARD president Dr Sagar Mundada explained that irrespective of the condition, relatives feel that once in hospital the patient has to get well. "Even if the patient is very critical, the relatives feel that s/he will get better once the money is paid. Which is not the fact,"said Dr Mundada.

According to the MARD survey, which was done 15 days back, 20% resident doctors felt that it's because patients do not understand the technical details of a case and feel that there is negligence on doctors' part. "This is also linked to why patients and their relatives have high expectations. While doctors have the responsibility to explain the technicalities of the treatment, they do not have time because of the huge gap in doctor-patient ratio. This is especially the case in public hospitals where the doctor-patient ratio is 1:10,5000," said Dr Mundada.

According to MARD survey, 20% resident doctors felt that the corporate culture in healthcare is to be blamed for rising medical negligence cases in the country. "Since the MBA pass outs run the show in corporate hospitals and doctors are just employees, doctors don't have a say in the billing process. Even if s/he wants to reduce the bill for a patient, s/he might not have any say in it. Corporate bosses see the hospital as a profit-making organisation.

But for the patients, the doctor is still the face of the hospital. In such cases, patients lose faith and may resort to filing medical negligence cases," explained Dr Mundada.

At least 15% resident doctors felt that the ethics in medical professionals are downgrading and that has led to rise in medical negligence cases in the country.