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HomeLegal NewsPublic Interest Litigation (PIL) in Supreme Court on Live Surgery Broadcast (LSB)...

Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in Supreme Court on Live Surgery Broadcast (LSB) : Demands guidelines &Strict monitoring

New Delhi : The Supreme Court bench headed by the Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and also comprising Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Mishra issued notices to the Union Government, National Medical Commission (NMC) and All India Ophthalmological Society(AIOS) on a PIL raising the legal and ethical issues posed by Live Surgery Broadcast (LSB). The PIL was moved by Delhi basedOpthalmologist Dr. Rahil Chaudhary challenging the live demonstration of medical surgeries to trainee doctors, professionals and medical conferences. The key instigation for moving the PIL is the recent lifting of ban imposed by the AIOS on its member for conducting LSB. The ban was imposed on 2016 after a patient, a poor laborer died during a live surgery workshop in 2015.The decision to lift the ban by AIOS was opposed by Dr. Rahil Chaudhary and other ophthalmologist but without any success. 

The PIL sought a direction from the Apex Court to direct NMC to constitute a committee for framing guidelines for Live Surgery Broadcast (LSB) and regularly monitoring them. The PIL said that patients from the lower strata were lured to give informed consent for LSB by offering them waivers or discounts of the surgery fees. The PIL added that by obtaining consent by offering free surgery is unethical and defeats the mandate of the consent which should be taken without allurement and through the free will of the patient. The patients while consenting are not aware of the serious consequences the LSB may have on the surgery as the surgeon attention is divided as they are aware that they are being broadcasted live and thus the live of the patient is put at risk. The Senior counsel for the petitioner Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan added raised several concerns regarding live surgery demonstration. He brought to the notice of the court that while performing LSB an audience of up to 800 view the live surgery and these viewers ask questions to the surgeons while the procedure id going on. The surgeon has to reply to the question. The CJI D Y Chandrachud responded by asking “ Like an IPL Match?”. The Senior counsel replied in affirmative and compared it with LSB wherein the cricketer is playing as well as offering commentary to the audience.

The Senior counsel further added that many foreign countries have banned LSB considering the risk involved in it as far as the treatment of the patient is considered and pointed out to the death of a patient in AIIMS on the operating table during the LSB. The Senior Counsel added that they had no objection to surgeries being recorded and then played before the audience with explanations from the surgeon for educational purpose. The Senior counsel concluded that the decision by the AIOS of lifting the ban and permitting LSB with the surgeon engaged in question answer during the procedure raises serious issues of legality, ethicality and above all endangers the life of the surgeon as the surgeon attention gets diverted.

Even though the CJI remarked that the live broadcasting was done for “educational purpose”, after considering the argument the bench issued notice to theUnion Government, National Medical Commission (NMC) and All India Ophthalmological Society (AIOS).

Public Interest Litigation (PIL) statedLuring the patient for free surgery vis-à-vis consent of LSB is unethical and defeats the mandate of the consent which should be taken without allurement and through the free will of the patient.Court should direct NMC to constitute a committee for framing guidelines for Live Surgery Broadcast (LSB)Court should direct NMC to make a mechanism for regularly monitoring LSBNo objection to surgeries being recorded and then played before the audience with explanations from the surgeon for educational purpose