Each medical practitioner must care for the poor: IMA
New Delhi, February 11, 2016: Opinion 9.065 ‘Caring for the Poor’ of AMA Code of medical ethics states that each physician has an obligation to share in providing care to the indigent. The measure of what constitutes an appropriate contribution may vary with circumstances such as community characteristics, geographic location, the nature of the physician’s practice and specialty, and other conditions.
Sharing IMA’s viewpoint, Dr. SS Agarwal, National President IMA & Padma Shri Awardee Dr. K.K.Aggarwal, President, Heart Care Foundation of India and Honorary Secretary General IMA said, ”Caring for the poor should be a regular part of the physician’s practice schedule. This can be done by free consultations or at reduced cost, serving at free clinics for the poor and participating in government programs that provide health care to the poor. They can also design and lobby for better programs for the poor”.
IMA feels that a physician cannot and must not neglect a poor patient in an emergency. Also, once a physician has taken charge of a patient, they cannot withdraw without adequate notice as per MCI Regulation 2.4 ‘The patient must not be neglected’. The MCI Declaration also indirectly touches upon this subject.
According to Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, each person has a right to life. Within the elements of right to life is also included the right to health. IMA believes that irrespective of one’s financial background each person has the right to quality healthcare services.