Quack steals doctors registration number to practice in TN, nabbed


Ekatha Ann John    06 June 2018

CHENNAI: After stealing doctors’ identities and buying space on their nameboards and letterheads, quacks are now preying on their registration numbers. Officials of the Directorate of Medical and Rural Health Services caught one such man from Tiruvallur district on Monday.

Based on a tip-off that scan machines were being used for sex selection, a team fanned out in Kavarapettai village, about 30km from Ambattur, and inspected clinics there. While they didn’t find any unregistered equipment, they got a lead that a quack was practising close to the village.

When officials asked the accused, Sekar Rao, 42, for his registration papers and academic certificates, he produced them immediately.

“His papers looked fake. When we keyed in his registration number on the state medical council’s website, it showed the details of another doctor,” said Kamala Kannan, superintendent, DMS.

On further interrogation, Rao, who had been prescribing medicines and administering injections to villagers, revealed that he had only a diploma in medical lab technology. He had been practising as a doctor for close to two years.

Police arrested Rao under Section 15(2) of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 (no person other than a medical practitioner enrolled on a state medical register shall hold office as physician or surgeon), and Section 419 (punishment for cheating by personation) of the Indian Penal Code.

This is the second case of a quack being caught in the district in the recent months. In April, officials netted a BSc dropout who practised as a doctor in Thiruvalangadu village. Suresh Babu, 35, had been prescribing medicines to locals for more than a year.

After an outbreak of infections in Tiruvallur in 2013 – a situation that was complicated by the presence of quacks – the state health department launched a crackdown. Since then, officials have caught 1,243 fake medical practitioners.

The Tamil Nadu chapter of the Indian Medical Association estimates that there are 30,000 quacks in the state, most of them in rural areas where doctor-patient ratio is poor.

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