Doctors want cap on medical compensation

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Bangalore, Oct 31: After the NRI compensation case, the doctors and medical practitioners have up their ante against medical compensation for medical negligence or accident beyond a

certain limit. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) and the Association of Healthcare Providers, India (APHI), urged the Centre to strengthen infrastructure before before introducing legislations on compensation for medical malpractices.

Welcoming the Supreme Court judgement on medical negligence, they urged it to consider providing a cap for practitioners in such cases. As an example, the APHI named 20 such states in the USA where the compensation cannot exceed beyond $2,50,000 (Rs 1.5 crore).

Dr Devi Shetty, renowned cardiologist and surgeon said,"This will affect delivery of medical care to remote and semi-urban areas. In most of these places, a single doctor runs a 50-bed hospital. Such hefty compensations will require him to sell his hospital and other assets. The government should understand that there is severe shortage of trained junior doctors in the country."

He further stated that 60% of the population, residing in small towns and villages, are being treated by small hospitals with just one doctor. Moreover, there is a massive shortage of specialists in various fields such as anaesthetics, gynaecology and paediatrics.

"There is massive shortage of medical specialists in every state. In many countries, including the US, nurses, after a certain number of years of experience in critical care, are allowed to administer medicines, and in some cases even prescribe. We don't have such a system to hold them accountable. So even if a nurse makes a mistake, the doctor and the hospital are held accountable," he further said.

Shortage of nurses is another problem in this country, which accounts to approximately 2 million. "Even for those working, there is no career progression. They are prevented from administering an injection even if they have 20 years of experience in critical care, while their counterparts in the West, even give anaesthesia for procedures," Dr Shetty added.

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