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Hopes on AAP to clean up 'corruption in healthcare'

By Shradha Chettri, New Delhi, Jan 10 : Relatives of those who have lost their loved ones due to medical negligence hope the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi will focus more on healthcare, especially the malpractice and corruption linked to the noble profession which affects tens and thousands of lives.


"I think AAP will be the one who will be able to clear the corruption within the healthcare system which is endemic," Poroma Rebello, who lost her father in 2010 due to alleged negligence of a renowned hospital in Delhi, told IANS.

Rebello's father was admitted to a private hospital with minor food poisoning. She alleged that her 84-year-old father was not given antibiotics even till the sixth day and instead was referred to a different hospital.

She has filed a complaint against the hospital in the Medical Council of India (MCI), a statutory body which establishes and maintains standards of medical education and registers doctors to practice in India, in order to protect and promote the health and safety of the public by ensuring proper standards in the practice of medicine.

Rebello was among the dozens who held a candlelight march at Jantar Mantar Wednesday to attract the attention of the Delhi government towards their cause.

Under the banner of People for Better Treatment (PBT), the NGO members also met Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain, who promised help.

"We are hoping the new government will be able to do something in this neglected area," she added.

Meenakshi Jain, whose father died almost three years ago, is fighting a twin battle -- with the Delhi Medical Council and the Delhi Police. She accuses them of fabricating reports.

"As per the rules of the state medical council, the complainant is required to be given complete medical record within 72 hours, but we were denied it. We are still fighting to get the record," Jain, an advocate, told IANS.

"There is such a deep-rooted nexus between the police and the councils," she said. "If AAP wants to cleanse the system, it has to start from here."

Subhra Verma, daughter of late Justice J.S. Verma, said she is also a victim of medical negligence.

"The battle is really difficult for the common man. We are also facing difficulties despite the fact that we have the means," Verma told IANS.

"If the new government really wants to work for 'aam aadmi', it is the healthcare industry that it has to start from," said Verma, a creative consultant with an event management company.

She said her father was a heart patient and the doctors without checking gave a blood thinning medicine, which is not supposed to be given to a heart patient, and which eventually led to his death.

Apart from blaming the police, and the state medical council, she alleged that the pharmaceutical companies, diagnostic centres and the hospitals are also hand-in-glove.

"AAP needs to bring major changes (in healthcare). I request them to start with the revamping of the Delhi Medical Council," she said.

Pankaj Arora, who lost his 10-year-old son Yash in 2011, said the government should first make the entire procedure of filing the medical negligence case against either a doctor or a hospital more transparent.

"My son underwent two liver transplants within a period of three months and instead of keeping him in isolation as was required, he was kept with people who had other infections," a teary-eyed Arora told IANS.

"I think government should make the entire procedure transparent so that fear could be instilled against these corporate-type hospitals. They would think again about playing with our and our dear ones lives," he added.

Kunal Saha, who formed the NGO PBT in 2001, said his group has been raising awareness among the people and guiding them to fight for justice.

Saha who fought for his wife's case for almost 16 years was able to get justice last year when the Supreme Court announced a compensation of Rs.5.96 crore, which with interest crosses Rs.11 crore - the highest in medical negligence case in India.

"I met with the new health minister (of Delhi) and put forward the malaises within the healthcare.

"Once the government steps in, they could put pressure and could start cancelling licenses of the doctors," adds Saha.

--IANS (Posted on 10-01-2014)

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