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NMC submits before Delhi HC : Anomalies in qualification of Doctors of Fortis Hospital

New Delhi : The National Medical Commission (NMC) has submitted in the Delhi High Court that one of the two doctors attached to Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh accused of medical negligence causing a newborn fell into a vegetative state does not have recognised qualification to be called a child specialist. The NMC has 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 the five-year-old Devarsh Jain who had suffered severe brain bleeding at the time of birth in Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh. The bleeding 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 against Fortis Hospital and the doctors. Fortis denied any wrongdoing and even got a clean chit from DMC. Sapna later challenged the DMC’s acquittal which is pending before the high court and in a separate petition challenged the educational qualifications of the two doctors that treated Devarsh. In the petition Sapna has raised has apprehensions on the validity of the qualification of Dr. Vivek Jain and Dr Singh who had treated her child. Dr. Vivek Jain along with MBBS degree has Membership of the Royal College of Pediatrics & Child Health (MRCPCH) from the United Kingdom and Fellowship Training in Neonatology from National Neonatology Forum (India). The other doctor Dr. Akhilesh Singh along with MBBS degree 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 in her petition has raised apprehensions on the validity of Dr Vivek Jain’s qualification to work as a neonatologist

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. However, Dr Singh has defended himself in a separate affidavit and said that despite having completed his Diplomate in Pediatrics and Fellowship in Neonatology, neither does he practise as an independent specialist in pediatrics or neonatology nor does the hospital, on its website, advertise him as being a specialist in neonatology. Dr Singh further added in his affidavit that he 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. On the issue of the qualification of Dr Vivek Jain 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 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.