Beware of sting operations

Many news channels are looking to carry out sting operations against medical doctors.

The possible areas are:

  • Giving and taking commissions
  • Manipulating insurance data before admission
  • Admitting patient when not required to avoid court dates
  • Giving false certificates

In a public school in Delhi, when I was talking to principal, he said that 10% of the students were absent on that day. The school had received 400 medical sick certificates. We know that these are fake certificates but we are ignoring the same for the time being, he further added.

Issuing a fake certificate can be punishable under Medical Council of India under professional misconduct and under IPC with both imprisonment and fine.

MCI ACT: 1.3.3 A Registered medical practitioner shall maintain a Register of Medical Certificates giving full details of certificates issued. When issuing a medical certificate he / she shall always enter the identification marks of the patient and keep a copy of the certificate. He / She shall not omit to record the signature and/or thumb mark, address and at least one identification mark of the patient on the medical certificates or report. The medical certificate shall be prepared as in Appendix 2.

Section 197 in The Indian Penal Code, 1860:  Issuing or signing false certificate.– Whoever issues or signs any certificate required by law to be given or signed, or relating to any fact of which such certificate is by law admissible in evidence, knowing or believing that such certificate is false in any material point, shall be punished in the same manner as if he gave false evidence.

Section 193 in The Indian Penal Code, 1860: Punishment for false evidence.– Whoever intentionally gives false evidence in any of a judicial proceeding, or fabricates false evidence for the purpose of being used in any stage of a judicial proceeding, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine; and whoever intentionally gives or fabricates false evidence in any other case, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.

In one case, a doctor was trapped by the media for giving clues how to get admitted falsely without need in order to avoid a court arrest. That person came to the doctor through another three known doctors, which was totally planted. The media was interested only in trapping the doctor if he agreed to admit the patient without an indication and the procedure for such an admission and how to fabricate a story in the emergency room.

We do come across requests for certificates to avoid an arrest or postpone a court date.

In another case, a Sai Baba devotee influenced a Government hospital medical officer through their boss to get a certificate for rest issued. He has been submitting certificates in the Court for the last many years through private doctors but this time the court ordered for a certificate to be issued by Government hospital.  The Sai Baba devotee influenced the doctor by his clothes and showing the bhabhuti magic to impress both the medical officer in-charge of the Hospital and the medical officer in-charge of the Internal Medicine and without informing them that he had been getting medical certificates from private doctors in the past.

Every day we get a request from the patient not to write past history of diabetes or high blood pressure. Normally insurance companies do not take actions but if you get trapped, this is an offence.