Laws illusory, do not get desired results in dealing with corruption in medical field: Khurshid

NEW DELHI, July 15:  The laws to deal with corruption in the medical field are “illusory” and do not get the desired results, and in such cases blame is often apportioned to “persons who can’t fight back”, according to former Union Minister Salman Khurshid.
He made the remarks on the sidelines of a function held here to release a new book — ‘Healers or Predators?’ which talks about corruption and malpractices in the medical fraternity.
“I think, enough is not the right word. I think laws are not appropriate, they don’t really make you look for corruption, they make you look for signalling that you are interested in weeding out corruption, but they are not about corruption,” the former law minister said, when asked if there were enough laws to deal with corruption in the medical field.
He also alleged that laws often become an “instrument of oppression”.
“Laws are very bad, and by that I mean, they are not just illusory or not getting the desired results, but they also become an instrument of oppression. So, what it does is that instead of weeding out corruption, it gives you chance for greater corruption,” Khurshid said.
During the book launch function on Thursday, a panel discussion was held and among other issues, it was also debated as to whether a genuine medical mistake should be equated with corruption.
“Getting something wrong equals corruption, with the presumption that if you have it wrong, all requirements of corruption are met and that is a problem. It is when a politician makes a mistakes, or doctors make a mistake, it is treated as corruption. The doctor in Gorakhpur tragedy case, did he deliberately want to harm the children,” Khurshid asked.
“And, in corruption cases, blame is apportioned to somebody who can’t fight back,” he said.
More than 60 children, mostly infants, had died in that Uttar Pradesh town, at the BRD Hospital within a week in August, 2017. There were allegations that the deaths occurred due to disruption in oxygen supply.
On August 24, an FIR was filed against nine persons, including  principal of the hospital Rajiv Mishra, his wife Purnima Shukla, Dr Kafeel Khan and the proprietors of M/s Pushpa Sales.
On September 2 last, Khan, was arrested and subsequently removed from the post of nodal officer at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College in the hospital. He was granted bail by the Allahabad High Court late April this year.
After coming out of jail, Kafeel had hugged his wife and daughter and said, “The honourable high court has clearly said that there is no evidence against me. You know what my family went through in the last eight months. I do not know what my fault is”.
“There is a failure of the rural health system in Uttar Pradesh as the Gorakhpur case suggests,” Khurshid had alleged during the panel discussion.
The book explores the many facets of corruption — from exorbitant billing by corporate hospitals to the non-merit-based selection in medical colleges to the questionable motives playing strong in the area of organ transplant, according to the Oxford University Press, the publisher of the voluminous book. UK-born David Berger, former non-executive director of British Medical Journal Publishing Group, who currently serves as an emergency doctor at Broome Hospital in a remote part of Western Australia, said India has its own challenges, which are different from the ones faced in other countries. (PTI)
“The right approach would be strengthening of the rural medical infrastructure and system,” he said.
“Many doctors are morally strong but they become corrupt because of the corrupt environment in which they function,” Berger said. (PTI)


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