Pathologist suspended for 6 mths for signing reports at multiple labs

Namrata Devikar
Sunday, 19 August 2018

He was personally not present at the labs but the reports were digitally signed

Pune: Recently, a pathologist was found guilty of signing pathology reports belonging to multiple places without actually personally supervising them was suspended for six months by Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC). 

Now, the decision will be binding on other pathologists across the State as well if proven guilty. This also means that the patients while getting their pathology reports should check if the report is physically signed by a pathologist and not just digitally signed.

The order was signed by the MMC on August 3. Speaking to Sakal Times, MMC President Dr Shivkumar Utture said that the order is with respect to a pathologist.

“It was seen that the complaint filed was on behalf of the association and not a patient and so the doctor’s licence has been suspended for six months. However, if a complaint comes from a patient, then MMC may take a more severe action. A pathological report is very crucial and according to the ethics practised by the medical fraternity, it should be looked by a pathologist and then only signed,” said Utture. 

The order states that various pathological labs spread across Karjat, Roha, Panvel as well as Nalasopara, Vasai and Virar by pathological tests of the patients are generated and certified without his personal supervision. 

The certificate/reports of different labs show the different scanned digitised signatures. It was also revealed that the lab reports were issued by various pathological labs under the seal and signature of the lab without mentioning the registration number.

Speaking to Sakal Times, Dr Prasad Kulkarni from the Maharashtra Association of Practicing Pathologists and Microbiologists (MAPPM) said that such kind of practice is rampant since the decade after the High Court order in 2007.

“With digitised names and signature of pathologists, people are deceived and under the wrong impression that pathologist has supervised the lab tests and reports. Just to escape legal hurdles, such pathologists are appointed for signature only, we call them ghost pathologists,” said Kulkarni.

He further added that patients should confirm availability of pathologists before submitting a sample to lab tests as well as treating doctors should confirm availability of pathologists in labs.

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