The Delhi High Court has refused to set aside the 180-day suspension handed to a Delhi government hospital doctor found guilty of treating patients, admitted to the ICU, in an inebriated condition.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru also declined to “exonerate” him from allegations of attending to the patient, who died on May 31, 2015, under the influence of alcohol. “The petitioner (doctor) has premised his case entirely on the FSL report regarding his blood sample, which indicates that no alcohol was found in the sample… There is overwhelming material to indicate medical negligence on part of the petitioner,” the court said.
The court was hearing the doctor’s plea against the Delhi Medical Council’s November 1 decision to remove his name from the Delhi Medical Register for 180 days, after it found him guilty of medical negligence.
The doctor, who was working as a senior resident in the Department of Medicine at Babu Jagjivan Ram Memorial Hospital, has also appealed before the central government and sought interim stay on operation of the DMC order.
The action was taken after a complaint was made to the DMC by one of the victim’s relatives. During the hearing, the doctor said he had left the hospital to have dinner at a dhaba in Azadpur.
The DMC, on the basis of the result of an alcohol breath analyser test, had concluded that the doctor had consumed alcohol while on duty, due to which he had compromised the care of the patient and brought disrepute to the medical profession.
Medical Council of India’s advocate T Singhdev opposed a stay of the DMC order, on the ground that the matter was extremely serious and there cannot be a situation where doctors in an inebriated condition are allowed to treat patients in the ICU.
The court agreed with the MCI’s contention and noted that the DMC findings indicate that the “breath analyser test conducted by the hospital at the relevant time showed the level of alcohol as 99.1 mg/100 ml. In addition to the above, it is also admitted that the petitioner had left the ICU during his duty hours”.
“DMC has also observed that (another doctor) was granted access to ICU by the petitioner, although he was not associated with the hospital. The petitioner’s explanation for finding high level of alcohol is that he had taken certain homeopathy medicines which had resulted in the positive test. However, there is no material as to which homeopathy medicines were taken by the petitioner and at what time,” the court noted.
It, however, directed the central government to consider the petitioner’s appeal in accordance with the law and to take an appropriate decision as expeditiously as possible, preferably within a period of eight weeks.