If doctors turn away non-COVID-19 patients, call KMC helpline

The Karnataka Medical Council (KMC) on Friday told the Karnataka High Court that people can call its helpline if any medical practitioner or any private hospital refuses to render their services to non-COVID-19 patients, who have other health problems.

The KMC had issued a circular on August 6 directing medical practitioners not to close hospitals or clinics and to examine non-COVID-19 patients suffering from other health ailments and to render necessary treatment to such patients.

The circular has been submitted to a division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Ashok S. Kinagi during the hearing of a PIL petition filed by L. Ramesh Naik, a Tumakuru-based advocate.

“If any medical practitioner fails to render service to a non-COVID-19 patient, the KMC will have to invoke Sections 2.1 and 5.2 of the Code of Medical Ethics, 2002, and such practitioner is liable for penal action,” the KMC had stated in the circular.

People can contact the KMC’s helpline (9916302328 or 080-22200888).

The KMC had issued the circular after the court, during an earlier hearing of the petition, questioned the action taken to address grievances of the public about medical practitioners either have closed their clinics or declining to treat non-COVID-19 patients in the guise of the pandemic. The KMC, which claimed that it had not received any complaint about doctors not treating non-COVID-19 patients, had assured the court that it would set up a helpline for the public to complain about such instances.

Taking note of the circular, the bench disposed of the petition as the KMC’s circular has the effect of redressing the petitioner’s grievances.

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Sagar Biswas

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