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A father seeks justice for dead son

Sunil Luthera died of cardiac arrest while undergoing treatment at a private clinic. The doctor who treated him is not a qualified cardiologist though his letterhead claims so.

delhi Updated: Jun 24, 2008 01:06 IST
Jaya Shroff

VP Luthera’s 42-year-old son Sunil Luthera died of heart disease two years ago. His family made the mistake of taking him to Dr KS Chadha who claims to be a cardiologist and runs a private clinic in Rajouri Garden in New Delhi. Luthera found out that Chadha was not a cardiologist though his letterhead on which he wrote the prescription claimed it but only after his son died. Dr Chadha does not even have his registration number printed in the letterhead as is required by the Medical Council of India (MCI).

Luthera’s complaints to the MCI have not helped. “I first registered a complaint with the Medical Council of India on July 3, 2006, which referred the case to Delhi Medical Council (DMC) on August 3 the same year. After two hearings of the case, the ethics committee decided to let off the doctor. The DMC report said “the patient warranted an immediate invasive intervention considering the younger age of the patient, which probably would have given better results, rather than going by the conservative line of management”, said Luthera. Luthera, a retired professor from Delhi University, now wants to see the doctor punished.

The DMC report also observes “even if invasive line of management was not possible at that moment in the centre due to any reason, the patient could have been referred to other higher centres like Escorts”. The DMC notes that though Chadha holds an MBBS and an MD (Medicine) degree from Delhi University, he does not hold a post-doctoral qualification of DM (Cardiology), which would allow him to call himself a cardiologist. The DMC noted “by the virtue of these (having practiced cardiology) he claims himself to be cardiologist”.

“We are capable of treating cardiac patients. Only if a procedure is required on the patient, do we refer them to a specialist. We had decided to conduct tests on Sunil but there was no urgency. It is unfortunate that the patient suddenly died of cardiac arrest before we could do anything,” Dr Chadha told HT.

Luthera accuses that Dr Chadha could not even provide the DMC with certificates of his MD degree. “In the first hearing, Dr Chadha said he had a degree in internal medicine but later changed it to MD in general medicine by the second hearing.

Next, he said he had practiced as a specialist in Maulana Azad Medical College and G.B. Pant Hospital but here again all he provided to certify his claim was that he served in Lok Nayak as a senior resident (registrar),” said Luthera.

Brushing aside allegations, Dr Chadha said, “I completed my MD in internal medicine from Maulana Azad Medical College and my registration number is 13842 DMC. It is not mandatory to mention the registration number on prescriptions.”

“I would have been satisfied if my son had died after receiving the proper care in the hands of a heart expert. What hurts is that he died at the hands of an irresponsible doctor who was not even a trained cardiologist,” said Luthera. He accused the medical councils of supporting doctors and not caring for patients at all. “I will file a case in the Delhi High Court next month,” he said.