“The mere fact that a patient dies in a hospital does not lead to the presumption that the death occurred due to the negligence of the doctor and in order to make a doctor criminally responsible for death of his patient.”
These were the observations held the Delhi State consumer Forum while dismissing a medical negligence complaint against St Stephens Hospital, New Delhi
Facts in Short.
1.The case goes back to 2007. The Complainant filed the complaint claiming Rs.40 Lakhs against the Hospital on the ground of death of his wife.
2. It was alleged that complainant’s wife, a teacher in the Department of Human Resources Development of Bihar Govt. was admitted to the Hospital as she was having severe abdominal pain on 19/11/2007. According to the complainant, Chest X Ray, Ultrasound, CT Scan and other tests were conducted but, the reports were never made available to him. On 3rd day, she was shifted of female surgical ward and in spite of resistance of the complainant, Ryle’s tube was inserted through her nose, that too by unqualified nurse and not by a Competent Doctor and thus it was a clear negligence by playing with the life of his wife.
3. Later when she was shifted to SICU, she was diagnosed with pneumonia and ultimately on 28/11/2007, she was declared as dead. It was also alleged that the Complainant was not provided the copies of various Tests reports. The bereaved compliant with his 2 minor children suffered irreparable loss and thus the compliant for Rs.40 lakhs was filed.
4. The Hospital refuted all the allegations and contended that a doctor or a hospital cannot be said to be guilty of negligence merely because a medical procedure failed. Merely because the complainant was not informed of the diagnosis, is no ground to treat the doctor as negligent. The Hospital contend that all the possible treatment was given and the Complainant was kept updated.
1. The Matter was referred for expert opinion to Safdarjung Hospital, Delhi. in its report it was clearly mentioned that
“There is nothing in the submitted records to suggest that due diligence and care was not taken by the attending doctors and specialists while treating her. All necessary ventilator strategies were adopted, necessary investigations done, antibiotics, fluids vasopressoro were administered according to necessity and according to accepted guidelines.”
2. The State commission relied on the said report and absolved the Hospital from the allegations of Medical Negligence. It also placed reliance on celebrated judgments of Hon. Apex court, to quote a one wherein it has been held that,
“If the doctor has taken proper precaution and despite that if the patient does not survive then the Court should be very slow in attributing negligence on the part of the doctor. The mere fact that a patient dies in a hospital does not lead to the presumption that the death occurred due to the negligence of the doctor and in order to make a doctor criminally responsible for death of his patient.”(Ref :Achutrao Haribhau Khodwa and Ors. V. State of Maharashtra and Ors., reported I 1996(2) SCC 634).
3. This judgment has once again emphasised on the important fact of maintaining proper record. Always remember, “NO RECORD MEANS NO DEFENSE POOR AND RECORDS MEANS POOR DEFENSE”.
4.In Law we always use the term “irreparable loss” while getting injunction, but according to me loss of our near and dear one is the finest example of this term. The National Commission in its earlier judgments have reprimanded Hospitals for not providing documents to the patients. It’s the right of the patients. So if you are maintaining proper documentation and following proper treatment protocols, then there should not be any problem or fear in providing such copies.
Thanks and regards,
Adv. Rohit Erande
Case Details :
Mohd. Kasur Parvez V/s. St. Stephen’s Hospital, Delhi.
Compliant No.87/2008, decided on 19/03/2018, By Hon. Delhi State Commission,
HON’BLE SH. O.P. GUPTA, MEMBER(JUDICIAL),
HON’BLE SH. ANIL SRIVASTAVA, MEMBER