ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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DEFENCE-Not Convincing

but inquiries were instituted without delay.
It is indeed commendable that the authorities took immediate-action. They were, one notices, in no way constrained by even a modicum of doubt that the death may have been due to the natural course of the disease. But would they have taken similar action in the case of another individual not so well-connected? The J J Hospital deaths, for instance, may well have gone unnoticed had it not been for an enterprising reporter. And certainly, as the Lentin commission report brings out, nobody seems to have shown any sense of urgency to investigate the matter. Similarly, in West Bengal, while doctors have been pulled up for denying admission to MPs because there was no vacancy in the hospital, dozens of instances of inefficiency or malpractice have gone unquestioned when the victims have been less powerful (see report on p 1056 in this issue). For an ordinary citizen, registering a complaint against the medical establishment is something of an obstacle race. And certainly the authorities will not deal with such a complaint with the promptitude with which Panicker's doctor was arrested. And what of the numerous everyday occurrences where due to medical negligence patients suffer from iatrogenic diseases, cross infections and prolonged agony?

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