Indian News

Priya's death: Govt doctors threaten to hold stir, boycott surgery over medical negligence charges

Source: , Posted On:   20 November 2022


CHENNAI: Multiple doctor associations in Tamil Nadu have rallied behind the doctors accused of criminal negligence in the death of 17-year-old footballer Priya in Chennai last week. While Tamil Nadu Government Doctors Association (TNGDA) on Saturday urged Chief Minister MK Stalin to take steps to drop criminal proceedings initiated against the doctors, a service doctors’ body has threatened to boycott all elective surgeries in government hospitals without prior notice. The TNGDA, at a meeting held on Saturday, adopted a resolution to conduct statewide protests if the doctors are arrested in the case. 

A statement from the association, which pointed out various Supreme Court guidelines on medical negligence, said, “Criminal action under section 304 (A) of the IPC (death due to negligence) should be taken against doctors only if medical experts point out criminal negligence in their investigation. Even in such cases, doctors should not be arrested. In the present case, the expert committee has only pointed to civil negligence in its report. It is disappointing that the Tamil Nadu police have ignored the SC guidelines and treated them like criminal accused.” 

The association appealed to the CM to drop charges under Section 304 (A) of IPC and urged the government to take only departmental action. It also expressed displeasure over the Madras High Court denying anticipatory bail to two doctors in the case. The association has also said that it has sought the support of nurses union and Indian Medical Association (IMA) in the matter. 

Meanwhile, the SDPGA (Service Doctors and Post Graduates Association) said it has already requested the government not to proceed with criminal action against the doctors. “There is news about police carrying out searches to arrest them. This is  condemnable. If there is any criminal action taken against the doctors, the SDPGA will boycott all elective surgeries in all government hospitals without prior notice,” the association said. 

The Peravallur police registered a case against five people, including two doctors, for negligence after the 17-year-old aspiring football died due to a botched surgery and post-operative care on November 15.An expert committee report said the doctors failed to remove a compression band or tourniquet they was placed to prevent blood flow to the surgical spot during the operation, leading to fatal complications. Two doctors, Dr K Somasundar and Dr A Paul Ram Sankar, were suspended in the case. 

According to experts, in cases of civil negligence, a doctor can be sued only for liquidated and unliquidated damages through civil court of law as well as consumer redressal forums. Criminal intention need not be established for suing. It can be inferred/presumed/assumed that there would have been some lapse/deficiency. The accused cannot be punished and only departmental action can be initiated with orders to pay damages to the aggrieved. In case of criminal negligence, however, a doctor may be sentenced to prison term extending up to two years or may be imposed a fine or both.