New Delhi: Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, taking a firm stand against Escorts Heart Hospital has imposed a fine of Rs 1 crore in a case of Medical Negligence.
Ironically, the major chunk of the fine ( Rs 75 Lakhs) comes in the form of penalty that is supposed to be deposited with the Consumer Welfare Fund. As ordered by the commission led by hon’ble NP Kaushik, this is for “doing unwanted treatment on the patients who are not easily identifiable by the Commission”.
The remaining of this one crore, Rs 20 Lakh plus 12% interest since 2008 ( that is, Rs 25 lakhs approximately ) has to be paid by the hospital as compensation to a septuagenarian man, whose wife’s leg had to be amputated up to her thigh, reports Complainant K C Malhotra’s wife passed away during the pendency of the case.
Indian Express reports that, the complainant filed the case against the hospital alleging medical negligence in the year 2008. As per his complaint, his wife was treated in the hospital between September and November 2006, when a bypass surgery and subsequently a procedure to amputate her leg up to the thigh were carried out. She continued visiting the doctors at Escorts for post-operation care. The complaint adds that she suffered excruciating pain in spite of the treatments and remained completely handicapped despite the artificial limb, since the veins from the right leg had been removed for the bypass surgery. Malhotra accused Escorts of botching up the treatment, because of which her leg had to be amputated.
The hospital replied to the court, that it had followed a standard protocol, and that the patient had been duly informed about the the findings of the surgery and the unsuitability of the vessels for bypass, besides the risk of developing gangrene in the lower limb. An expert opinion from MAMC supported this argument that this was indeed a standard protocol.
The commission, however, observed that the patient had been first admitted to the hospital with complaints of acute pain in her left foot. During admission, a bypass surgery was conducted and she was discharged, but no other procedure was carried out for the treatment of peripheral vascular surgery or renal angioplasty, nor was she advised to report back. Reports have also indicated, the Commission said, that after the bypass surgery, her heart had become weaker and the muscles non-functional. It noted that she was also referred to a homeopathy doctor in another building of the same hospital, but Escorts sought to conceal this. No investigation or procedure was conducted on the patient for 10 days, before an “alarm went up one fine morning that her leg had to be amputated to save her life”, it said.
The commission noted
“A prolonged period of non-treatment led to the spread of gangrene and consequent amputation of the leg up to the thigh. It is, therefore, also a clear case of medical negligence and explained by the principle of res ipsa loquitur,”
In addition of the penalty to be paid to the complainant, the court also imposed exemplary penalty of Rs 75 lakh on Escorts, holding the hospital guilty of unfair trade practices by conducting tests and treatments on scores of other patients. The money shall be used in assisting consumers assert their rights and claim compensation under the Act. It also invoked the principle of res ipsa loquitur which fastens liability on a party based on the very nature and mere occurrence of an accident or injury as reported by Indian Express.
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