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NMC seeks comments from stakeholders, public on live surgery broadcast by private hospitals

New Delhi: In a public notice the National Medical Council (NMC) has sought comments from stakeholders and the public on live broadcast of surgical procedures on patients by private hospitals within the next 10 days. The commission has also constituted a committee of experts to provide recommendations on the issue of live broadcast. In a public notice on Thursday, the NMC referred to a writ petition before the Supreme Court in which the petitioner held that many private hospitals are commercially exploring the patients and using them as models to fulfil their ulterior motives through live surgery broadcasts in conferences.

“Various companies are promoting themselves and make a fortune out of the miseries of the exploited patients. Advertising sponsorship and professional showmanship overshadow the true purpose of these broadcasts. “Healthcare facilities showcase their capabilities, surgeons flaunt their skills and companies promote their products all at the expense of patient safety,” the public notice said. Pre-recorded surgical videos, edited to meet educational needs, can achieve the same objectives with far less risk, it underscored. In pursuance of the petitioner’s prayer it has been decided to constitute a committee of experts to give recommendations on the issue of live surgeries broadcast by private hospitals in the country, the NMC said.

“In this regard all stakeholders and members of the public are invited to provide comments on the said issue of live surgery broadcast within the next 10 days, facilitating the committee in their pursuit of a balanced and informed decision-making process,” the public notice stated. Last October, the Supreme Court had sought responses from the Centre and others on the plea raising legal and ethical questions over live broadcast of surgical procedures, with the petitioners likening it to Virat Kohli batting and commentating at the same time. The bench had said it will leave the issue to be considered by the NMC. Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for the petitioners, referred to a news report about the death of a patient whose surgery was being broadcast live, and said in some cases, people belonging to lower economic strata are induced to go for it.