Doctor suspended for treating patient while drunk gets no relief from Delhi HC |
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Doctor suspended for treating patient while drunk gets no relief from Delhi HC
Pritam Pal Singh,  31 December 2018
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The Delhi High Court, while hearing a Delhi government hospital doctor’s plea against the Delhi Medical Council’s decision dated November 1, to remove his name from the Delhi Medical Register for 180 days, after finding him guilty of medical negligence, refused to set aside the suspension. The doctor was found guilty of treating patients admitted to the ICU in a drunken state.

The Court further refused to acquit him from the allegations of attending to the patient under the influence of alcohol, who died on May 31, 2015. The doctor, working as a senior resident in the Department of Medicine at Babu Jagjivan Ram Memorial Hospital, has also appealed before the Central Government and sought interim stay on operation of the DMC order.

The doctor premised his case on the FSL report of his blood sample which indicated that no alcohol was found in the sample. The Court; however, said that there was overwhelming material suggesting medical negligence on part of the petitioner.

The action was taken following a complaint made to the DMC by one of the victim’s relatives. Based on the result of an alcohol breath analyser test, the DMC concluded that the doctor had consumed alcohol while on duty, and had compromised the care of the patient.

Medical Council of India’s advocate opposed a stay of the DMC order, stating that this was a serious matter and doctors cannot be allowed in an intoxicated condition to treat patients in the ICU. The Court noted that the DMC findings indicate that the breath analyser test conducted at the relevant time revealed the level of alcohol as 99.1 mg/100 ml. Additionally, it was also admitted that the petitioner had left the ICU during his duty hours. During the hearing, the doctor said that he had left the hospital to have dinner at a dhaba in Azadpur.

The DMC had also observed that another doctor was allowed access to the ICU by the petitioner, despite not being associated with the hospital. The petitioner explained the high level of alcohol found in the test by stating that he had taken some homoeopathic medicines which had led to the positive test. However, the Court found no material pertaining to which homoeopathic medicines were taken by the petitioner and at what time.

The Central Government has been directed to consider the appeal in accordance with the law and to take an appropriate decision, preferably within eight weeks.

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