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SC seeks response from Centre, NMC over live surgery broadcast

SC seeks response from Centre, NMC over live surgery broadcast

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday sought responses from the Centre on a plea seeking a ban on live surgery broadcasts.

A bench, headed by CJI D.Y. Chandrachud and comprising Justices J.B. Pardiwala and Manoj Mishra, issued notice to the Union government, the National Medical Commission (NMC) and others on the plea.

The petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution said that the issue of live broadcast of surgery in conferences by various private organisations needs urgent consideration by the apex court in the absence of any guidelines issued by the government or the NMC.

It said that many private hospitals and companies are commercially exploring the patients and using them as models to fulfil their ulterior motives or to promote themselves in complete ignorance of ethical standards.

Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan instructed by advocate Meenakshi Kalra, appearing on behalf of the petitioners, submitted that such practice endangers the lives of patients and raises ethical and legal issues.

The plea mentioned that the doctor performing surgery gets distracted by explaining the procedure to an audience.

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There is also a sponsorship and advertising angle as many companies use these forums to promote their products in complete ignorance of the ethical standards laid down for surgery by the NMC, added Sankaranarayanan.

The petition stated that in 2015, AIIMS Delhi organized a live surgical broadcast where a Doctor from Japan was invited to conduct the surgery and while broadcasting it live, the patient died "due to negligence purported by the broadcasting of the surgery".

"That even after this incident, the NMC, till date, didn’t make any rules/regulations regarding the Live Surgical Broadcast nor till date, any approval is required to be sought from NMC to conduct such Live surgeries," the plea added.

The petition said that the fundamental human rights of patients cannot be subject to the whims of a particular group as “advertising, sponsorship, and professional showmanship overshadow the true purpose of these broadcasts.”

The bench, also comprising justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra said, “It also serves as an educational tool.”

However, the petitioners told the Court that there is no concrete evidence supporting the “educational effectiveness” of live surgery broadcasts and added that prerecorded surgical videos can serve the purpose as they offer better frame-by-frame analysis and do not divert the surgeon’s attention.

The apex court posted the matter for hearing after three weeks.

With inputs from agencies

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