‘Better to stop practicing medicine than be exposed to unlimited liabilities’
“As a Doctor with 25 years standing, it makes more sense for me to stop medical practice rather than expose myself to being sued in crores and risk my lifetime reputation also”
Source: Article in The Indian Express
Increasing Litigations on Doctors shall be the biggest concern area for the Indian Doctors, mainly due to:
- No limit on the Maximum Liability amount that an Indian Doctor can be sued for
- Complex Laws –
- Doctors can be sued for almost any reason being a soft target
- For cases of Medical Negligence, Malpractice, TORT, Harassment, Instrument/Machine Failure or Impact, Staff Negligence & many others
- Aggressive increase in Patient Activism – Patients now show lesser consideration towards doctors due to
- Enhanced knowledge of his/her rights
- Lack of a relationship with doctors, unlike the past
- More information available on the internet, social groups
- Activists Groups formed in recent past, to take on Doctors for any negligence
- Media Glare
- Lack of Structured Documentation. Also various practices being followed in breach of MCI codes
- Lack of Medico Legal Expertise: Limited medico-legal & forensic expertise in India, & in-adept lawyers fighting such technical cases
- No information sharing amongst the community: 3 out of 10 doctors is facing an issue every year & this will grow by more than 200% annually, but Doctors do not share their concerns as it is considered taboo & may lead to tarnishing of their reputation within the fraternity and patient base.
- No support at Critical Stage: Lack of PR support, Inability in Police & Mob Handling
- India has around 7,50,000 + Doctors and adds another 30,000 doctors, 18,000 specialists annually through its 400+ Medical Schools. Another 60+ Medical Schools have just been credited for Operations.
- 84% of the Hospitals in India are less than 30 Beds. They do not have the basic infrastructure to handle a Medico-Legal issue. We at LegalMD, plan to address this issue and thus fill the void
- The period from 2008 to 2015 has seen an exponential increase in the number of Medico-Legal cases against medical practitioners in India. Since India has no agency to track Medico-Legal Cases a lot of cases are not reported
- Recently a lot of cases are getting reported and prompt judgments from the honorable courts have come as a warning to the medical community. One of the recent hearings had an Hospital pay a 11Cr penalty, along with other criminal proceedings
- The maximum number of cases occurs against Gynecologists and Surgeons followed by Orthopedics and Dermatologists. Cases range from negligence to simple harassment and this trend is slowly moving into Tier 2 cities as well.
- There is only one doctor per 1,700 citizens in India; the World Health Organisation stipulates a minimum ratio of 1:1,000. This Ratio is very high which results in doctors handling a lot more cases in India.
- Currently the Medico-Legal Industry in India is unstructured and handled by individuals and small firms that are fragmented, small scale mom and pop establishments with no clear vision and professionalism
- These small operations lack the bandwidth, professionalism, credibility, and sensitivity of handling medico legal cases.
- Firms / Individuals in India currently offer just counseling and legal recourse and do not offer the finer aspects of risk management like walking hand in hand with the doctors, managing their reputation and training them for the future.
- Documentation, Compliances and Certification in the medical space is still lagging behind in India leaving a lot of room for growth for companies to educate doctors about these practices.
- Our internal test surveys have found that out of a sample of doctors most have had some Legal Issues and are unaware of the risk, while 85% would be very interested in a Service like LegalMD.
‘With increased consumer awareness & activism the doctor’s ability to take timely decision critical to patients well being will be hampered & they will no longer be able to practice without fear. With media glare & political appeasement approach, the community will be under huge stress in the future. With no professional firm in this space, LegalMD can be in the position to capture dominant market share.’