Dr. Gujju Raja Sekhar, Medical Director, Global Health City, addresses TAPMIians about Medical Negligence and Consumer Protection Act

Dr Gujju Raj Sekhar works with Global Health City, Chennai as the Functional Head of both Medical Services and Operations, heading and handling multiple roles at the organisation varying from international business development, leading the legal department and coordinating the academic programs offered by the hospital.  His credentials include MDHM and LLB, Osmania University, PGD in Medico Legal Systems, Symbiosis University, Pune. As a health care professional, he has worked for 15 years in the industry. Beginning with a couple of hospitals, he then moved to Global Hospital Group where he started as an Asst General Manager. Dr. Sekhar rose to the pinnacle position as the COO at the Hyderabad hospital of the group before shifting to the Chennai branch in order to take up a whole new gamut of challenges.

Dr Raja Sekhar was here to talk about a very important aspect of the Healthcare industry – medical negligence. He briefly ran through the rules governing the same under the Consumers Protection Act. His insight into the topic was from a medical administrator’s point of view. The session started with a real life scenario about how a case of medical negligence had lead to an adverse event such as the death of a patient. He asked the audience to comprehend the liability and accountability of different parties involved in this mishap. Dr Sekhar’s talk revolved around the scope of litigation in such situations and how they could be mitigated. He spoke about what ought to be done morally in terms of healthcare ethics and further explained how the negligence is characterised in the eyes of law as the Law of Torts.

Dr. Raja Sekhar then proceeded to explain the key features of litigation in such scenarios, which he illustrated by drawing parallels with the scenarios in the West. He quoted, “In US, for every person killed by a drunken driver, 2 people are killed by medical errors”. For India, he stated that the majority of medical errors happened on account of technology followed by misdiagnosis. The trend says that, in India, litigations are usually initiated under the influence of other doctors or medical professionals of the victim’s family, whereas in the west it’s the family and friends themselves who initiate such proceedings. Further, he elaborated on ways to avoid litigations by means of compensations, apologies and so on. However, if all such steps fail and litigation is brought forth, he mentioned how various guidelines and awareness of the law governing the same came in handy. He took one step back and pointed out different measures that could be implemented to avoid such complications, such as protocols for crisis management, instilling team work, keeping mandatory documentations etc. He said that it was a very difficult task to achieve favourable outcomes for the lawsuits filed, as only 7% had resulted in verdicts against medical institutions or professionals out of the 1.5% of claims made.

Over time, the industry has gradually moved to a patient-centric model from a physician-centric one. Now, patients are perceived to be customers who have the discretion of making the choice with regards to  availing of the health care services or not.

Finally, he concluded by drawing the attention of all towards the importance of administering control over the quality of care delivered, which was the key role as well as the challenge facing every healthcare administrator. This could be executed through a variety of measures, and he emphasized on the importance of awareness of laws to exercise rational damage control in such trying situations.

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