The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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In the act: Students do what others have left undone
Measure of measure to curb medical neglect

The award by the South 24-Parganas District Consumers’ Court of a paltry Rs 1.5 lakh for causing permanent physical damage to a patient is insufficient when one considers that the patient had to spend four times as much for the treatment itself (Knife mars, damages scar patient, Metro, Sept 24).

There is no specific formula to calculate the amount of money that could compensate the victim of medical “malpractice”. However, punishment for any crime needs to have at least two specific purposes. First, it should try to adequately compensate the victim for his loss, physical as well as psychological. More importantly, punishment should also act as a deterrent to similar future crimes. Unfortunately, in this case, both purposes have failed. When a patient spends Rs 5 lakh for the therapy alone, a compensation of Rs 1.5 lakh after a long-drawn legal battle that probably cost the victim even more money, cannot be considered as “justice”.

Further, there is no dispute that doctors in India are placed at the very top rung of the socio-economic ladder. Slapping a fine of only Rs 1.5 lakh after being held “negligent” would hardly appear as punishment for them.

In spite of rampant “medical negligence” in India, rarely are doctors held guilty. Unfortunately, even on that “rare” occasion, the errant doctor gets away with a mild slap on the wrist. Such trivial punishment will act as a deterrent for other victims of “malpractice” to come forward in search of justice.

Dr. Kunal Saha,
Columbus, Ohio.

Studied effort

Hats off to the students of Apeejay School, Park Street, for their public toilet clean-up drive, despite their heavy study schedule. (Bathroom brigade in clean-up call, Metro, Sept. 24). CMC councillors should take a lesson from the students. Citizens should also feel motivated.

Mohan Lal Sarkar,
Budge Budge.

Students are the most innocent elements of society and if they are involved in such welfare activities, they will bloom in future as righteous citizens.

Piyal Mukherjee,
Lake Town.

Still gaga over radio

Although TV channels are enjoying the run of the viewership all over the country, the popularity of radios cannot be minimised (Distant stations, die-hard radio fans, Metro, Sept. 27). More effort should be put into the programmes.

Prahlad Agarwala,
Majdia, Nadia.

Booze boost

This is with respect to Cardiological Society of India (Bengal) president Manotosh Panja’s advice that a peg or two of alcohol is good for the heart in ‘Doctors sound alert on heart disease ’ (Metro, Sept. 29). The test was conducted in America. In our country, where weather, lifestyle, culture and food habits are different, that test result may not hold good. Dr Panja is requested to carry out the tests in India in support of his conclusion.

Hara Lal Chakraborty,
Arabinda Nagar.

Finance minister Asim Dasgupta referred to cardiologist Manotosh Panja’s advice on World Health Day that “a peg or two” of alcohol is good for the heart. Can he not allow a subsidy on “medicinal” alcohol to senior citizens to keep them hale and hearty'

Govinda Bakshi,
Budge Budge.

Cure concerns

Apropos the report ‘Doctors decide to get choosy’ (Metro, Sept. 25), it is shocking that a patient was refused emergency surgery in three hospitals. The surgeons were probably afraid of legal trouble in case the operation went wrong. So much for medical ethics!

Sunil Banerjee,
VIP Road.

Dumped on tax-payers

The Corporation is considering the feasibility of handing over charge of clearing garbage to private parties to curtail existing costs (Private route for garbage disposal, Metro, Sept. 28). This indicates that the CMC is maintaining a huge idle labour force. The burden of this expenditure all this time was falling on the tax-payers.

Rabindranath Kar,
Shankar Ghosh Lane.

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