The MCI Code of Medical Ethics 2002 has prescribed regulations related to punishment and disciplinary action in Chapter 8.8.1. “It must be clearly understood that the instances of offences and of Professional misconduct which are given above do not constitute and are not intended to constitute a complete list of the infamous acts which calls for disciplinary action, and that by issuing this notice the Medical Council of India and or State Medical Councils are in no way precluded from ...
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The MCI Code of Medical Ethics 2002 has prescribed regulations related to punishment and disciplinary action in Chapter 8.
8.1. “It must be clearly understood that the instances of offences and of Professional misconduct which are given above do not constitute and are not intended to constitute a complete list of the infamous acts which calls for disciplinary action, and that by issuing this notice the Medical Council of India and or State Medical Councils are in no way precluded from considering and dealing with any other form of professional misconduct on the part of a registered practitioner. Circumstances may and do arise from time to time in relation to which there may occur questions of professional misconduct which do not come within any of these categories. Every care should be taken that the code is not violated in letter or spirit. In such instances as in all others, the Medical Council of India and/or State Medical Councils have to consider and decide upon the facts brought before the Medical Council of India and/or State Medical Councils.”
8.2. “It is made clear that any complaint with regard to professional misconduct can be brought before the appropriate Medical Council for Disciplinary action. Upon receipt of any complaint of professional misconduct, the appropriate Medical Council would hold an enquiry and give opportunity to the registered medical practitioner to be heard in person or by pleader. If the medical practitioner is found to be guilty of committing professional misconduct, the appropriate Medical Council may award such punishment as deemed necessary or may direct the removal altogether or for a specified period, from the register of the name of the delinquent registered practitioner. Deletion from the Register shall be widely publicized in local press as well as in the publications of different Medical Associations/ Societies/Bodies.”
Note: Appropriate medical council means state medical council. State medical council can only hear cases of professional misconduct. The state medical council can hear either in person or through pleader.
Note: The use of the word “MAY” here signifies that the Council has a provision to even pardon or leave him with warning.
8.3. “In case the punishment of removal from the register is for a limited period, the appropriate Council may also direct that the name so removed shall be restored in the register after the expiry of the period for which the name was ordered to be removed.”
8.4. “Decision on complaint against delinquent physician shall be taken within a time limit of 6 months.”
8.5. “During the pendency of the complaint the appropriate Council may restrain the physician from performing the procedure or practice which is under scrutiny.”
8.6. “Professional incompetence shall be judged by peer group as per guidelines prescribed by Medical Council of India.”
In Jacob Mathew’s case (334 / 2005 / SCI / 144-145 of 2004: Jacob Mathew vs State of Punjab and Anr: 5th day of August 2005), the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has stated that “Generally speaking, it is the amount of damages incurred which is determinative of the extent of liability in tort; but in criminal law it is not the amount of damages but the amount and degree of negligence that is determinative of liability…a clear distinction exists between "simple lack of care" incurring civil liability and "very high degree of negligence" which is required in criminal cases.” “For civil liability only damages can be imposed by the court but for criminal liability the doctor can also be sent to jail (apart from damages which may be imposed on him in a civil suit or by the Consumer Fora). However, what is simple negligence and what is gross negligence may be a matter of dispute even among experts.”
Note: Deficiency of service and simple negligence only attracts the law of torts. The very fact doctors are covered under indemnity act means that they are liable for trial for awarding compensation to the complainant.
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