Maharashtra Medical Body Wants To Weed Out ‘Ghost Pathologists’ Who Sign Off Diagnostic Reports Without Assessing

Maharashtra Medical Body Wants To Weed Out ‘Ghost Pathologists’ Who Sign Off Diagnostic Reports Without Assessing

As per MAPPM, laboratory tests should be supervised by registered medical practitioners with a post-graduate qualification in pathology.

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Tuesday, March 12, 2024, 10:38 PM IST
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Ghost Pathologists | Representational Image

Mumbai: Coming down heavily on ‘ghost pathologists’ who sign off on diagnostic reports without assessing them, the Maharashtra Association of Practising Pathologists and Microbiologists (MAPPM) has asked the Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) to take strict action to stop the rampant illegal practice, which is one of the key reasons behind wrong diagnosis and re-testing.

In a letter dated March 6, the state body has asked the medical council to issue strict guidelines about the engagement of pathologists in laboratory reports or bring in a regulation. As per MAPPM, laboratory tests should be supervised by registered medical practitioners with a post-graduate qualification in pathology.

Raising concerns about the illegal practice in rural Maharashtra, Dr Prasad Kulkarni, an executive member of MAPPM, said that scores of pathologists are registered with laboratories through electronic signatures but are not physically present to review reports or offer professional opinions.

He said that several pathologists are registered with multiple centres, and in many cases have signed on blank papers that are later used to print reports. “The practice of ghost pathologists undermines the quality of medical care in rural areas and jeopardises patient safety,” he said. MAPPM, he said, has 3,500 registered pathologists in the state.

Dr Kulkarni said they are contacting insurance companies to trace ‘ghosts’ and have already shared the names of three indulging in illegal practices. “We have requested the council to look into our complaints and take action against the offenders,” he said.

MAPPM president Dr Sandeep Yadav said that as per the Supreme Court’s 2017 order, a laboratory report can only be signed by a registered pathologist after assessing the results. The paramedical council, which comprises staff of diagnostic laboratories, is also on the same page as the medical council and is urging the government to make it compulsory for all pathologists to register under it.

MMC administrator Dr Vinky Rughwani said they are looking into the concerns raised by MAPPM. “We will soon hold hearings for pending cases and look into the issues raised by MAPPM,” he said.

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