Do MBBS Doctors have any Rights and Privileges ?

Ultimately someday we will need to go to court to defend the rights and privileges of an MBBS doctor. What he/she can do, what he cannot do. Why he cannot do a cesarean but a BAMS can ? Why even if he is trained he still cannot do basic echocardiography / endoscopy / EEG / ultrasound ? Problem is the division in our ranks and the turf war which is likely to break out.

I feel very isolated when fighting for basic issues on behalf of medical profession. The decision of Lucknow Bench of Allahabad high court if not appealed before 4th August, our oppurtunity to do so will be lost. MLAG has hired lawyers, spent a substantial amount even to get certified copies of judgment and petition from court which were needed by our lawyers. I have repeatedly raised request to all and sundry to help in providing our advocates the version of resident doctors, why they went on strike, etc but to no avail. There must be members of this and other groups from lucknow who would be in position to answer the queries.

Unfortunately when an attempt is being made by MLAG towards achieving something we get bombarded with criticism instead of help. What can be more basic than a doctors "right to protest". No IMA, No resident Doctors association, no FORDA seem concerned. Next time violence is there and doctors anywhere in the country strike, and some patients die, they will be awarded 25 lacs compensation from the salary of the doctors based on this judgment. This is high handedness and persecution at its worst. There is no mechanism prescribed in this judgment on how a doctor can register his protest and get his genuine grievance redressed. We all know resident doctors in India are overworked,cheated and exploited by managements of medical colleges, beaten up by relatives, mistreated by their thesis guides. However now that their only right to protest collectively ( so that they cannot be discriminated and prosecuted against ) has been taken away in one stroke there is monumental apathy. Even Britishers allowed satyagrah, but not our powers that be who sit in their ivory towers dispensing "justice". Much more disturbing however is the callous lethargy amongst our profession. I shudder to think of the working conditions of the new generation MBBS/MD doctors in this country in the times to come.

Dr Neeraj Nagpal 
Convenor,Medicos Legal Action Group, Managing Director MLAG Indemnity, 
Ex President IMA Chandigarh 
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