【明報專訊】IN a medical incident in Kowloon Hospital 6 years ago, a patient died from his throat being covered by a gauze. The Medical Council has imposed a heavy punishment on the doctor concerned by banning him from practicing for 6 months. The family of the deceased think that the ruling is fair and just, but some front-line doctors think that the ruling was influenced by populist public opinion and questioned the penalty for being too heavy and unjust. Investigations and hearings conducted by the Medical Council have often been questioned, with scepticism about "doctors shielding each other" undermining the credibility of its rulings. As a result, whether a penalty is heavy or light, it attracts criticisms nonetheless. The Medical Council should explain more the criteria it uses in its preliminary investigations and for penalty assessment. It should also rebuild its credibility by deepening the reform of the council.