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If a patient is admitted under an MBBS doctor and has a specific complaint, the MBBS doctor should refer the patient to the specialist or any other physician for consultation and treatment. The MBBS doctor cannot practice which is detrimental to his/her patient. Also, in case of serious illness or in doubtful or difficult condition, it is the duty of the MBBS doctor to consult the specialist. If the registered medical practitioner claims himself to be a specialist without any special qualification and treats the patient, then the said act of providing treatment of specialist by the physician will be considered as professional misconduct and such physician shall be liable for disciplinary action.
As per the provisions of Regulation 2.1.1 of the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette & Ethics) Regulations, 2002, the physician can advise the patient to seek another physician’s advice. Also, if a patient is suffering from any ailment which is not within the range of the physician, then the physician can refuse to treat the patient and refer the patient to another physician.
Further, as per the provisions of Regulation 2.1.2 of the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette & Ethics) Regulations, 2002, the physician having any incapacity which is detrimental to his/her patient is not entitled to practice.
As per the provisions of Regulation 3.1.1 of the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette & Ethics) Regulations, 2002, it is the duty of the physician to request consultation in case of serious illness and in doubtful or difficult conditions.
In the matter titled as “Martin F D’Souza versus Mohd. Ishfaq, Civil Appeal 3541/2002 vide judgement dated 17.2.2009, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has held that an expert should be consulted in case of any doubt. Further, according to Regulation 7.20 of Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette & Ethics) Regulation, 2002 “a Physician shall not claim to be specialist unless he has a special qualification in that branch."