Kidney transplant malpractice case: Withdraw charges against Ruby Hall Clinic doctors, says IMA
PUNE More than a month after the kidney transplant malpractice came to the fore in Pune city, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has now stepped in to defend its colleagues at Ruby Hall Clinic. The association has stated that the action against the private hospital is unjustified and that such action puts the lives of patients at risk by stopping transplant surgeries.
The IMA response comes after the city police filed an FIR against the hospital staff including the managing trustee, followed by the charity commissioner’s action against the hospital. Among the 15 people named in the FIR are the managing trustee of the hospital Dr Purvez K Grant; deputy medical director Dr Rebecca John; legal advisor Manjusha Kulkarni; consulting nephrologist Dr Abhay Sadre; urologists Dr Bhupat Bhati and Dr Himesh Gandhi; and transplant coordinator Surekha Joshi. The police FIR was filed based on a complaint by Dr Sanjog Kadam, deputy director of medical services, Pune. The police have not made any arrests in the case.
In an official statement, the IMA stated that the alleged kidney transplant incident in Pune seems to have led to improper allegations and legal proceedings against the doctors and the hospital involved. “The IMA protests in strong words. According to the information received as well as the preliminary observation of the FIR, the accused woman, with the help of some intermediaries, used her identity cards (Aadhaar, election papers, wedding photos, etc.) to pretend to be the patient’s wife. The FIR also alleges that the woman willingly came to the hospital to seek a kidney for her dummy husband and then underwent a kidney donation operation,” the IMA release stated.
The IMA stated that all the documents were certified by the hospital’s organ transplant committee as well as by video recording. Thereafter, these documents were scrutinised by the police and the district-level government transplant committee and further operations were carried out only after the consent of these organisations. Therefore, there is no direct involvement of the private hospitals or their doctors in this irregularity, the statement added.
“The doctor’s job is to determine the need for surgery, whether the surgery is being performed on the right person and whether all the treatments are being carried out in a healthy manner. It is not the job of the doctor or the hospital to re-verify whether the documents and identity cards are forged after scrutiny by the police as well as the high-level district committee. Therefore, it is improper to file charges against them on grounds that they have forged documents as well as are involved in a kidney racket and conspiracy, and we strongly condemn this,” the IMA statement said.
When asked why the IMA responded so late, Dr Sanjay Patil, chairperson of the IMA hospital branch, Pune chapter, said, “The FIR against 15 officials of the hospital including the hospital trustee was lodged on Thursday and so now we have issued an official press note. We were in touch with Ruby Hall Clinic and they were getting relief form the high court but suddenly, this type of action was initiated.” However this response has come almost 40 days after the incident first came to light and two days after the police FIR named some of the topmost officials who are also part of the association.
Patil further said that such unjustly serious actions had stopped transplant surgeries and the lives of countless patients awaiting life-saving surgery were hanging in the balance and health injustice was taking place in society. “Due to such actions, all doctors and hospitals are seriously considering stopping performing this type of surgery. The Pune branch of the IMA has demanded that the charge-sheet against the doctors be withdrawn immediately. It is important to note that no illegal activity should take place at all, and no patient’s right to life-saving surgery or survival should be violated,” he said.
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