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IML conducts 5th National Convention on Medicine & Law

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The convention was conducted online, streamed live to viewers, in view of current pandemic, was well attended by extremely distinguished panel

Institute of Medicine & Law (IML) conducted the 5th National Convention on Medicine & Law on July 05, 2020. This event is an influential and foremost meeting that discusses and deliberates on changes needed in laws relating to healthcare in India.

The convention was conducted online and streamed live to viewers, in view of the current pandemic, and was well attended by an extremely distinguished panel.

Session 1 was on “Organ Transplant in India – Legal Issues and Solutions”, and a few prominent problems, issues, and recommendations discussed therein are as follows:

  • Low allocation in the state’s budget on health
  • A big waiting list of organ-recipients is a big cause of concern
  • Procedures / processes must be made easier, and monitoring these should be more robust
  • Doctors / donors / recipients must not feel threatened
  • Fear-psychosis amongst doctors must be addressed
  • Focus must be on Tier II & Tier III cities
  • Family of donor can be incentivised by giving them preference in getting organs
  • A proper hierarchy of surrogate decision makers for donating organs must be prescribed by law
  • Three definitions of death in Indian laws must be done away with – There should be a uniform determination of death
  • Post-mortem of the dead body after retrieval of organ needs to be addressed on a high priority
  • Procedures governing declaration of brain-stem death must be made easy
  • Have more hospitals as organ retrieval centre
  • Involve public hospitals at a bigger scale
  • Medical students must be sensitised on this issue
  • Better coordination between public hospitals and private hospitals
  • Compulsion to have an audit committee for ICU deaths
  • Media should not be over-reactive – Need to sensitise
  • Police / hospitals must be sensitised about the correct legal position – Police has to be intimated about organ retrieval in case of a medico-legal case (patient) donating organs, no permission required
  • Autopsy of medico-legal cases (patients) should be permitted in the organ retrieval centre
  • Involve patients’ bodies and groups – Provide counselling, share stories, have recognition programme
  • Need to improve the attitude of hospital staff – It has direct bearing on donations

The panellists for Organ Transplant in India – Legal Issues and Solutions session were:

Dr Lalit Shah, Convenor, Legal Cell, Urological Society of India; Dr Sunil Shroff, Mohan Foundation; Dr Rahul Pandit, Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine, Associated with Fortis at Mulund, Mumbai; Dr Bharat Shah, Secretary, ZTCC Mumbai, Managing Trustee, Narmada Kidney Foundation, Director, Institute of Renal Sciences, Global Hospital, Mumbai; Dr Dhruva Chaudhary, President, ISCCM; Dr, Harish Pathak, HOD, Forensic Medicine, Seth GS Medical College; Dr Noble Gracious, KNOS – Kerala Network for Organ Support, Govt Medical College; Dr Roop Gursahani, Consultant Neurologist, Hinduja Hospital, Dr SK Mathur, President, ZTCC; Dr Swarnalatha, Jeevandan, NIMS, Telangana; Dr Vasanthi Ramesh, Director, NOTTO, Mahendra Bajpai, Advocate, Supreme Court, Editor Emeritus, Medical Law Cases – For Doctors, Hon Director, Institute of Medicine and Law.

Session 2 was on ‘Legal & Regulatory Framework for Tele-Health – The Way Forward’ and a few prominent problems, issues, and recommendations discussed therein are as follows:

  • Comprehensive, overarching legislation needed
  • Apprehensions in minds of doctor and patients’ needs to be addressed
  • Security of data, confidentiality, privacy, commercialisation of medicine – A few important causes of concerns
  • Acceptance of telemedicine by medical insurance providers and indemnity providers to doctors and hospitals
  • Interoperability – Homogenous system needed
  • Standardisation of practice of telemedicine required
  • Problem of geriatric population having visual and hearing problems
  • Needs to be taught to doctors at an undergraduate level
  • Regulations on remote sensing devices needed
  • Problem of patients calling at odd hours, not paying fees, data charges of platforms, patients outside India, friendly advice, informal chats, adverse event reporting, bad audio / video, managing data, cyber security, different types of consultations, and so on needs to be clarified
  • Need to use this data for public health surveillance
  • Cyber security needs to be strengthened

The panellists for Legal & Regulatory Framework for Tele-Health – The Way Forward were:

Dr Ashvini Goel Colonel, President Elect, Telemedicine Society of India, Member, International Society for Telemedicine & eHealth (ISfTeH); BS Bedi, Sr Director, Ministry of Electronics & IT and Headed Medical Electronics & Telemedicine Division, Member, National Committee on EMR Standardisation set up by MoHFW, COO, TSI and President, TSI NCR Chapter; Dr B Shivashankar, President Elect, Indian Orthopaedic Association; Dr GS Bhattacharya, In-charge – Department of Medical Oncology, Salt Lake City Medical Centre, Kolkata, Senior Clinical Research Associate, Nuffield Division of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, John Radcliffe Hospital, University of Oxford; Dr Ganapathy Krishnan, Past President – Telemedicine Society of India & Neurological Society of India, Emeritus Professor, Dr MGR Medical University, Tamil Nadu, Member, Digital Health Panel of Experts, WHO, Director – Apollo Telemedicine Networking Foundation & Apollo Tele Health Services; Viveka Roychowdhury, Editor, Express Pharma, Express Healthcare, Express Diagnostics, Dr Nagendra Swamy, Founder Chairman, Medisync Health Management Services; Dr S Arulrhaj Prof, Chairman – Sundaram Arulrhaj Hospitals, National President, API 2020; Dr Sanjay Sood, Associate Director & Project Director (eSanjeevaniOPD) – C-DAC, Mohali, Dr Shreekant Shetty, Editor, Medical Law Cases – For Doctors, Member, Board of Collaborative Reviewers – MedLegal Yearbook, Managing Trustee, HAWK Foundation; Dr Subhal Dixit, Director ICU, Sanjeevan Hospital, Immediate Past President, ISCCM, Immediate Past Chancellor, ICCCM, Amit Mohan, Business Head – LCS, LCS Digital & Inside Sales, GE Healthcare, India & South Asia Region, Adv Mahendra Bajpai, Advocate – Supreme Court; Editor Emeritus – Medical Law Cases – For Doctors, Hon Director – Institute of Medicine & Law; Adv Dr Milind Antani, Leads Pharma, Healthcare, Medical device, and Digital health practice; Adv Bagmisikha Puhan, Technology lawyer and privacy practitioner. Policy advocate for telemedicine, Legal advisor, Telemedicine Society of India, Member, Executive Committee of the Society.

Dr TN Ravishankar, Ex-President, IMA, Tamil Nadu was the convenor of the first session, whereas Dr Dilip Walke, Ex-President, Medico-Legal Cell, FOGSI was convenor of the second session. Dr Parag Rindani, CEO Wokhardt Hospital, Mumbai Central was the moderator of both the sessions.

Dr Bhagwat Karad, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha and himself a paediatric surgeon noted that the convention has involved everybody, viz. doctors, experts in law, patient group, and representation from other countries also.

“A doctor has done his job till such time as he has given a reasonable standard of care. As a judge whenever a case would come to me, the scales of justice would always shift in favour of the doctor” said Justice Sunil Ambwani, Former Chief Justice, Rajasthan High Court, and also the Chairperson of the e-committee, Supreme Court of India.

“The nation today needs a central law on uniform determination of death, even the WHO has recommended, and many countries are following this…” was one of the key recommendations that was proposed by Adv Mahendrakumar Bajpai, Advocate Supreme Court. 

“We assure you that we will release a white paper after this event, which will be taken to its logical conclusion by raising it to policy maker and relevant authorities” said Sunder Rajan, CEO, Institute of Medicine & Law, to a distinguished panel of policy makers, doctors, and legal luminaries.

International participants included:

Dr Prabhakar Baliga, leadership positions locally as Chair, Department of Surgery, Charleston, South Carolina, National Board of the Organ and Procurement Transplant Network; Dr Ajith Tennakoon, Forensic Specialist; Chief Judicial Medical Officer – Department of Forensic Medicine, Institute of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Sri Lanka; Dr Joseph Palmero, Chief, Medico-Legal Division, Philippine National Police; Dr Maria Paula Gomez, Executive Director, DTI Foundation, Parc Científic de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; Dr Vikram Dogra, Professor of Radiology, Urology, & Biomedical Engineering, Department of Imaging Science, University of Rochester, NY, USA & Founder, Scientific Scholar Publications.

The Patient groups were represented by Dr Ratna Devi, Founder, Indian Alliance of Patient Groups, Founder, Board Member, NCD Alliance in India, Chair, International Alliance of Patient Organisations, a charity based out of the UK.

The recording of the event can be viewed at: 

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