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Sedatives to Alcoholic Patient: Consumer court dismisses Rs 80 lakh complaint

Sedatives to Alcoholic Patient: Consumer court dismisses Rs 80 lakh complaint

“The Complaint for Rs.80 lakhs alleging that Sedatives should not have been given to Alcoholic Patient as it caused cardiac arrest and complications, was dismissed ”

The State Commission of Maharashtra, in the case of Smt.Rohini H. Merchant & ors. V/s. Sir H.N.Reliance Foundation Hospital & anr. has dealt with important factors.

Factual Matrix in short :

1. The deceased patient – husband of Complainant No.1 Mr.Harendra J.Merchant was a Captain in Navy. It was contdned that he gave up his habitual consumption of liquor 25 years back.

2.But in the year 2005, when he was sailing near Andaman and Nicobar Islands, after seeing the hundreds of people dying to the Tsunami, he was psychologically and mentally disturbed and signed off the ship in February 2005 and due to trauma, he again started consuming alcohol after a long gap.

3.That, to treat the patient for proper detoxification, he was admitted on or about 13/12/2005 in the Hospital which claimed to have all the facilities. After some time he had chest congestion and thus requested to administer only saline as he consumed alcohol and also had cough.

4. However the in house Doctor injected only a sedative “Serenace 10 mg & as the patient started breathing very heavily with hissing sounds, he was injected “Phenergan”. After 45 minutes, he suffered cardiac arrest ad he was shifted to ICU.

5. It was alleged that in between he was shifted to general ward and he had 2nd arrest on 19/12/2005 and he went in Coma and remained in the same state for almost 2 years till his death i.e. on 15/09/2007.

6. It was alleged that the sedative should not have been given to alcoholic patient which caused cardiac arrest and the facilities of treatment were also reduced from A class to general Ward and hence on various grounds, total compensation of Rs.80 lakhs was claimed. This included cancellation the costs of hospitalization and final bill of Rs.16 lakhs, to pay compensation of Rs.63 lakhs towards loss caused to the complainants and mental agony along with Rs.1 lakh as costs of complaint

7. The Hospital and the Doctors refuted all the allegations.

Held :
1. After going through the documents, record, judgments of Apex Court and after hearing of the parties the Commission dismissed the complaint.

2. It was held that the Complaint is not barred by law of limitation. The Opponents examined the expert witness Dr.Yusuf Abdulla Matchiswalla, M.D. Psychological Medicine who stated on oath that the combination of the drug serenace and phenergan as intramuscular and intra- venous injections can be safely given in doses as high as 40 mg. in patients of alcohol and presenting with psychotic symptoms and disruptive behavior.No independent expert opinion was produced by the Complainant.

3. The patient was initially hospitalized in Jaslok hospital where he was diagnosed as “Alcohol abuse –acute alcohol intoxication” and was administered Injection Serenace, but had no Cardiac arrest.

4. It also came on record that the class of treatment was reduced to general ward due to financial constraints of the Complainants and the body of the patient was also not retained.

IT’s the prerogative of treating Doctor to decide the line of treatment and the Apex court has repeatedly held that A doctor is not guilty of negligence if he has acted in accordance with a practice accepted as proper by a responsible body of medical men skilled in that particular art. The death of our near one is always traumatic. However it’s not that every death of patient, the Doctor is responsible. I don’t think there will be any doctor who will purposely give wrong treatment to his/her patients. The Doctor is not a GOD.

Thanks and Regards

Adv. Rohit Erande
Pune. ©

Attached is the judgement below

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the above article are solely those of the author/agency in his/her private capacity and do not represent the views of Medical Dialogues.
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