Two days after dna exposed the rampant practice of technicians at diagnostic laboratories signing test reports, three qualified pathologists, whose names were misused, have come forward with more evidence. The trained doctors have also demanded action to rein in the fraudsters.
Dr Makrand Ganpule, an MD in pathology, was shocked when he learnt that some labs in Mumbai were using his name and signature on their reports. This prompted Dr Ganpule, who has been practising pathology in Dombivli for 14 years, file a police complaint.
According to Medical Council of India (MCI) guidelines, it is mandatory for a diagnostic report to be signed by a qualified pathologist. The MCI doesn't allow diploma holders to sign reports.
"Two weeks ago, a doctor friend called me to ask if I had started a lab in Mankhurd. After talking to him I realised something was fishy. To probe further, I sent a few dummy patients to this lab. All the reports had been issued under my name with some person signing them," Said, Dr Ganpule.
Following Dr Ganpule's complaint last Friday, the Mankhurd police raided the lab – Health Care Pathology – and got it shut.
According to the Maharashtra Association of Practicing Pathologists and Microbiologists (MAPPM), an umbrella body of qualified pathologists, there are more than 15,000 path labs across the state, of which 1600 operate out of Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane.
In a similar case, another trained doctor had approached the police in January. Dr Pramod Rathod, who has been operating from Nanded for the past five years, learnt about his name being misused by a New Panvel technician since 2011.
"A lab named 'Nidan Laboratory' was issuing pathology reports in my name. I filed a complaint with the Panvel police and got the technician arrest. He spent 10 days behind bars," said Dr Rathod.
The Bombay High Court in 2005 had ruled that only qualified pathologists, recognised by the MCI and the Maharashtra Medical Council, can certify pathology reports. However, the malpractice still continues.
In 2006, Nair Hospital alumnus Dr Ravindra Birajdar, who has been practising in Nerul since last 14 years, had come across one Krishna Diagnostic Centre from Thane for fraudulently using his name and signature. He then filed a police complaint with the Kapurbawdi police.
"The police raided the place and took action against the technician. After that I approached a Thane court. The matter will be heard next month," said Dr Birajdar.
The malpractice must stop: Docs
Dr Ravindra Birajdar said he and many MAPPM members will soon be meeting MMC officials and the medical education department, seeking action on unscrupulous diagnostic centres. There are more than 15,000 path labs across the state, of which 1600 operate out of Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane.
"Technicians don't have the know-how of pathology. Forget signing reports, legally, they cannot carry out any investigation," Dr Rajesh Mane, secretary, MAPPM.