Indian Prime Minister urged to stop attacks on physicians

Following the suicide of a leading Indian physician, the World Medical Association has written to India’s Prime Minister urging him to stop the high number attacks on physicians and other health personnel in the country.

In a letter to Narendra Modi, the President of the WMA Dr. Heidi Stensmyren said that the woman physician committed suicide following the intervention of law enforcement officers and legal action after the death of one of her patients.

She writes: ‘It must be clear that any treatment outcome that is detrimental or fatal must first be properly and professionally examined before conclusions about civil and criminal liability can be made.

‘Utmost attention must be given to an unbiased, scientific correct process in dealing with unwanted treatment outcomes.’

Dr. Stensmyren said she was shocked by the involvement of law enforcement officers and described this as ‘an apparently ambiguous legal situation’.

She said the WMA supported the Indian Medical Association in their request to the Indian government to enact unambiguous and effective lawful means to stop the attacks on physicians and other health personnel.

‘Countering non-negligent treatment errors with prosecution in the first place is not only unjust but will also have grave consequences for the treatment of the population as it will lead to risk-avoiding, defensive medicine and as such to reduced treatment options for seriously ill or endangered patients.’