“A person who does not have knowledge of a particular System of Medicine but practices in that System is a criminal and a mere pretender to medical knowledge or skill, or to put it differently, an impostor”
A recent death of a 31-year old man, allegedly treated by Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS), has opened up the Pandora box about how Ayurveda doctors are allowed to practice in private Allopathic Hospitals in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The presence of a huge number of Ayurveda doctors in Allopathic hospitals vindicates that the health sector of Jammu and Kashmir has been thrown to the winds, with no accountability and transparency.
The recent death of a 31-year old man at SDDM Hospital due to alleged negligence of the doctor strengthens this opinion. According to the family, the deceased was reportedly attended by a BAMS doctor.
If official sources of the Health Department are to be believed, there are more than a hundred Private Allopathic Hospitals in Jammu and Kashmir that have been running since last many years and most of them are dependent on the Ayurveda doctors, as they are reportedly available on low salaries and do not have any contract with other hospitals.
Sources stated that the cases of hiring Ayurveda doctors has reportedly increased in Jammu and Kashmir in the past few years and the Ayurveda are being hired as an assistant or as a Medical Officer in any Allopathic medical set-up across the Union Territory.
“If Ayurveda practitioners stop practicing their own stream, they are obviously degrading it. As far as the issue of shortage of doctors is concerned, it is completely a fake cry because there are a number of Allopathic doctors, who are available in the Union Territory,” official sources claimed.
A senior doctor, wishing not to be named, informed that even the Karnataka Government had to withdraw an order allowing practitioners of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy) to practice Allopathy.
The doctor said that almost all hospitals of Jammu and Kashmir have Ayurveda doctors, who are not registered with National Medical Commission (NMC) and are allowed to do Allopathic practice.
“Most of the private allopathic hospitals in Jammu and Kashmir are dependent on the Ayurveda doctors, owing to their easy availability and being economical as compared to allopathic doctors,” said senior doctor, adding that due to increasing number of Ayurveda doctors in Allopathy, the number of cases of negligence have also increased.
On various platforms even the governments of some states have not authorized them to practice Allopathy but still the practice is going on.
The doctor alleged that due to the ‘inefficiency’ of the Health Department, these private hospitals are running as per their own will and there is no accountability.
A retired doctor shared an incident with The Typewriter, “A patient went to a private hospital some months ago in Jammu city after complaining of high fever, bad cold and breathing problems. The patient was given drugs by an Ayurveda doctor without enquiring past history. After some hours the attendants of the patient came back to the doctor and informed him that there is a drug reaction,” said retired doctor, adding that the panic gripped the hospital after the incident and the management of the hospital called a doctor, who was on duty in the Government Hospital, to settle the patient and avoid the unwanted events.
Pertinently, a fight between Allopathy and Ayurveda doctors has been going on for the last many years even the Indian Medical Association has also moved to the Court for not allowing Ayurveda Doctors in the Allopathy because they do not have required expertise in the mentioned system. And still, there is confusion whether Ayurveda Doctors should be allowed or not.
A circular of the Ministry of Ayush Government of India stated that BAMS doctors should be permitted for prescribing the basic allopathic drugs in normal cases.
In fact the Indian Medical Association warned the doctors of the Allopathic hospitals not to hire Ayurveda doctors as they are not eligible to do the practice of Allopathy.
IMA also warned that if anyone is found to violate the directions, a strict action shall be taken against him, but in Jammu and Kashmir these hospitals are enjoying patronage of the concerned authority.
“A person who does not have knowledge of a particular System of Medicine but practices in that System is a criminal and a mere pretender to medical knowledge or skill, or to put it differently, an impostor,” observed the Supreme Court of India in a Poonam Verma Vs Ashwin Patel case. And this fact was adequate to hold the doctor negligent and award compensation, the Court held.
“Negligence,” the SC said, “has many manifestations — it may be active negligence, collateral negligence, comparative negligence, concurrent negligence, continued negligence, criminal negligence, gross negligence, hazardous negligence, active and passive negligence, willful or reckless negligence or negligence per se….” And here the doctor, having practiced allopathy, without being qualified in that system, was guilty of negligence per se. “Where a person is guilty of negligence per se, no further proof is needed,” the apex court held while awarding compensation and costs to the widow.
When The Typewriter tried to contact Director of Directorate Health Services, Dr Renu Sharma and Chief Medical Officer Jammu Dr JP Singh for their comments over the matter, they were not available.