The case goes back to year 2009, when patient Sh. Lalan Prasad Sharma was examined in emergency ward of LBS Hospital, New Delhi and given two injections in his right hand. Complainant immediately thereafter felt that his right hand had stopped working and was almost paralyzed. He was advised to go home. On the next day on his visit to the hospital, doctors put plaster on his right hand. Patient did not feel any relief. He went to Metro Hospital Delhi six days later. He was referred to G B Pant Hospital Delhi where he was told that due to the negligence on the part of the doctor his hand had stopped working.
The defence submitted by LBS hospital stated that that the complainant was suffering from right side radial nerve palsy along with wrist drop which was caused by chemical neuritis secondary to intramuscular injection. It was further submitted that the problem arose as a result of anatomical variation of course of radial nerve.
A medical board was also set up at GB Pant Hospital, which submitted the expert opinion as following
“Medical Board is of the opinion that the findings are suggestive of right radial nerve palsy. The same has been proved by Neuro-diagnostic tests done at A.I.I.M.S. (Neuroscience Centre) dated 26 May 2010, patient I.D.No. 800-10, available with the patient.”
After going through the complaint as well as the submissions, it is reported that a district forum in Delhi had held held medical negligence on the part of the doctor as well as the nurse, asking them to pay a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the patient. However, challenging the said decision, the parties approached the State Forum namely on the grounds since LBS being a government hospital providing free services, there did not exist the relationship of ‘consumer’ and a ‘service provider’ necessary for the applicability of the Consumer protection act. The parties further submitted, quoting a previous Supreme Court Judgement that “a mere deviation from normal professional practice is not necessarily an evidence of negligence“
The bench consisting of Shri NP Kaushik, however, rejected the plea of the doctor on both grounds stating
Giving injections in the nerve of the patient is not simply a deviation from a normal professional practice. Doctor or a nurse giving injections must be conscious of the area of the human body on which injection is being given. A medico must be thoroughly familiar with the anatomy of the human body. Clearly, the law cited is not applicable to the case in hand.
Coming to the plea of non-existence of relationship of ‘consumer’ and ‘service provider’, the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Indian Medical Association v. V P Shantha, 1995 (3) CPJ 1 (SC) held that the services rendered by the Government hospital fall within the purview of the Consumer Protection Act 1986. This plea again does not help the appellant.
The State Forum, hence dismissing the plea of the doctor, upheld the decision of the district Forum awarding compensation to the tune of Rs. 5,00,000/- to the complainant, recoverable from LBS Hospital . Further, LBS Hospital can recover the said amount from the salaries of the doctor and the nurse respectively for the paralysis caused to the patient.
Read the full judgement below :