Mumbai civic body issues notice to doctor for prescribing test to asymptomatic Covid-19 patient - Hindustan Times

Mumbai civic body issues notice to doctor for prescribing test to asymptomatic Covid-19 patient

ByRupsa Chakraborty
May 24, 2020 12:54 AM IST

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has issued a show-cause notice to a general physician from Ghatkopar for violating the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guideline by allegedly prescribing a coronavirus swab test to an asymptomatic patient. The civic body has also threatened to cancel the doctor’s registration if he fails to respond to the notice within 24 hours. The development has garnered criticism from the medical fraternity.

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As per the show-cause issued by the assistant commissioner of N ward, who owns a clinic at Ghatkopar has been found in violation of the Epidemic Disease Act 1897; the Disaster Management Act, 2005, as well as the guidelines issued by BMC over Covid-19 testing.

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“Now, it has come to the native of this office, based on reports of one number of patients that you have not been following the said ICMR guidelines scrupulously, especially regarding the testing of asymptomatic patients,” reads the notice signed by the assistant civic commissioner Ajit Ambi.

In the second para, the officer has been directed to respond to the letter and explain why his licence should not be cancelled.

Despite repeated attempts, Ambi did not respond to HT’s calls till the time of going to the press.

However, one of the doctor’s colleagues, said, “These are the ways the corporation is trying to scare us so that we don’t run many tests and so that they can show lesser number of Covid cases. If a patient doesn’t show symptoms but based on our expertise if we feel the need to run a test then the corporation has no right to stop us.”

According to the rules of Indian Medical Council (IMC), the apex body holds the power to cancel the licence of any doctor. Dr Shivkumar Utture, president of the Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC), has confirmed the development and said, “The corporation can’t cancel the registration of any doctor. We are the only authorised body.”

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has criticised the move and termed it ‘discouraging and demoralising’, especially as the development comes a day after a general physician had lost his life to Covid-19 in Chembur.

“We don’t need threatening letters, we need safety gears. Such arrogant behaviour will discourage doctors,” said Dr Avinash Bhondwe, president, IMA, Maharastra.

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