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Law and Pediatrics

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Dr Omesh Khurana, Chhattisgarh    16 January 2018

IAPians are serving India with great zeal and enthusiasm. Prevention of malnutrition and stunting is an important sustainable development goal Let all IAPians become breast feeding champions. Let us pledge to protect, promote and support breast feeding by following IMS Act in letter and spirit. As per IMS Act, there is a provision of imprisonment for 3 years if violation is proved. “Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 1992 (IMS Act).” Strengthened by an amendment in 2003. Let us become leaders and train nurses in IYCF skills, especially attachment, expression of breast milk, the value of suckling, cup and spoon feeding, kangaroo mother care, etc.

Awareness on complementary feeding between 6 months to 2 years is the need of the hour, supplemented with regular growth monitoring on WHO/IAP growth charts.

IAPians should also be aware of the Bolam rule related to medical negligence (Justice McNair vs Friern hospital management committee (1957): Where you get a situation which involves the use of some special skill or competence, then the test as to whether there has been negligence or not is not the test of the man on Clapham omnibus, because he has not got this special skill. The test is the standard of the ordinary skilled man exercising and professing to have that special skill. A man need not possess the highest expert skill. It is well established law that it is suffi cient if he exercises the ordinary skill of an ordinary competent man exercising that particular art. Bolam’s test has been approved by the Supreme Court in Jacob Mathew’s case.

Medical negligence and role of police: (Judgement by Markandey Katju, RM Lodha in the Supreme court of India : 17.02.2009) Para 117: Whenever a complaint is received against a doctor or hospital by the Consumer Fora (whether District, State or National) or by the Criminal Court, then before issuing notice to the doctor or hospital against whom the complaint was made, the Consumer Forum or Criminal Court should fi rst refer the matter to a competent doctor or committee of doctors, specialized in the fi eld relating to which the medical negligence is attributed, and only after that doctor or committee reports that there is a prima facie case of medical negligence should notice be then issued to the concerned doctor/hospital.

This is necessary to avoid harassment to doctors who may not be ultimately found to be negligent. We further warn the police offi cials not to arrest or harass doctors unless the facts clearly come within the parameters laid down in Jacob Mathew’s case (supra), otherwise the policemen will themselves have to face legal action.

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