New Delhi: The National Medical Commission (NMC) has submitted in the Delhi High Court that one of the two doctors, accused of medical negligence due to which a newborn fell into a vegetative state, does not have recognised qualification to be called a child specialist.
The NMC, which regulates medical education and profession in India, further admitted that even the additional qualification of another doctor making him a neonatologist is not available with it and requested the court to get it from the Delhi Medical Council (DMC).
The case pertains to five-year-old Devarsh Jain, who suffered severe brain bleeding at birth in August 2017 in Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh. It was diagnosed seven months later and due to delay in proper treatment, he got paralysed both mentally and physically.
Devarsh’s parents alleged that the private hospital deliberately concealed his birth injury and deprived him of timely treatment. His mother Sapna Jain got an FIR lodged on October 1, 2019.
Fortis denied any wrongdoing and even got a clean chit from DMC. Sapna challenged the DMC’s acquittal which is pending before the high court.
Meanwhile, Sapna also questioned the educational qualifications of the two doctors in a separate petition. She said that the registration status and educational qualifications of Dr Vivek Jain and Dr Akhilesh Singh of the Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh are available on the DMC’s website.
It shows that Dr Vivek Jain, who is a Director and Head of the Department of Neonatology in the hospital, has an MBBS degree from Kasturba Medical College in 2004 along with Membership of the Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health (MRCPCH) from the United Kingdom in 2007. Dr Vivek Jain also has a Fellowship Training in Neonatology from National Neonatology Forum (India) in 2016.
Sapna raised apprehensions on the validity of Dr Vivek Jain’s qualification to work as a neonatologist.
Another doctor, Dr Singh, completed MBBS from Motilal Nehru Medical College, Allahabad in 1994 and has Diploma of Child Health (DCH) from Indian College of Maternal & Child Health (ICMCH) of National Association for Voluntary Sterilization & Family Welfare of India affiliated to International Association for Maternal & Neonatal Health, Geneva.
Sapna questions Dr Singh’s qualification too saying that DCH is an unrecognized qualification.
The high court asked the NMC, DMC, both the doctors, along with other parties, to file their responses.
While submitting its stand before the court in an affidavit on Tuesday, the NMC has admitted that Dr Singh has got registration by the DMC only on the basis of his MBBS qualification.
According to NMC, except MBBS, Dr Singh’s all other qualifications are unrecognized.
“It is relevant to state that the registration granted by the Delhi Medical Council is only on the basis of the aforementioned MBBS qualification and there is no Additional Qualification Registration granted to Dr Akhilesh Singh on the basis of which he could be considered as a specialist,” the NMC said.
However, Dr Singh has defended himself in a separate affidavit and said that despite having completed his Diplomate in Paediatrics and Fellowship in Neonatology, neither does he practise as an independent specialist in paediatrics or neonatology nor does the hospital, on its website, advertise him as being a specialist in neonatology.
“Rather, the Applicant is employed as an Assisting Doctor in the Neonatology Department of the Hospital (Senior Consultant) and works in the NICU under the direct supervision/control of the Head of the Department/Director of Neonatology of the Hospital,” Dr Singh said.
So far as Dr Vivek Jain is concerned, the NMC submitted that DMC granted registration for his MBBS degree and additional registration for his Membership of MRCPCH but the Commission is only aware of his MBBS degree.
The NMC said that as per the laid down registration process, primarily registrations are granted by the concerned State Medical Councils on their State Medical Registers and such information of registration is forwarded to the NMC.
“In the present case, the aforementioned registrations granted by the Delhi Medical Council on its State Medical Register are not being reflected in the Indian Medical Register as maintained by the National Medical Commission,” the NMC said.
The NMC has requested the court to examine the DMC’s affidavit to find out if additional registration norms have been complied with. The DMC is yet to file its affidavit.
Sapna said that NMC in its affidavit has failed to highlight another glaring discrepancy. She highlighted the Code of Medical Ethics Regulation which says “a physician shall not claim to be a specialist unless he has a special qualification in that branch”.
She alleged that if Dr Vivek Jain claims to be head of the neonatology department, he should have Doctorate of Medicine in Neonatology.
Dr Vivek Jain has dismissed the allegation and said that he has completed 2.5 years training in the field of neonatology with the Department of Neonatology, Oliver Fisher Neonatal Unit at Medway Maritime Hospital, UK, which is a part of the National Health Services (NHS) Foundation Trust.
The matter is being heard by the single judge bench of Justice Yogesh Khanna and the next hearing is on April 19.