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Dismissed: Allegations that patient’s health deteriorated as Doctor went abroad

Dismissed: Allegations that patient’s health deteriorated as Doctor went abroad

Through a recent judgment, the Delhi State Consumer Forum turned down the Allegations that a patient’s health deteriorated due to the Doctor going abroad, turned down. The court then dismissed the case against Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi and its doctor noting that the Complainants failed to discharge their Burden to prove the Negligence”.

Facts in Short :

1. The Complaint goes back to the events that took place between 17.09.1998 i.e. the date of admission of 6 years old Mast. Rishabh Rana to 28.05.2001 i.e when Mast. Rishabh took his last breath.

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2. The Complaint was filed by the parents of the deceased child. MAst. Rishabh was suffering from Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL). Before admitting to the Opponent Hospital, the Child was admitted with Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi. But neither party have referred to the details of the treatment given at Safdarjung Hospital. The Complainants contended that during the relevant period Mast. Rishabh was admitted on 13 occasions at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

3. The complainants contended that the disease from which the child was suffering relapsed due to the negligence of opponent doctor i.e. Dr. Anupam Sachdeva and Dr. Sikha.

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4. It was contended by the Complainants that the condition of their son deteriorated to death because Dr. Anupam Sachdeva, went abroad leaving the treatment in between, that too without giving proper instructions to be followed in respect of the remaining treatment.

5. On 13/06/2000, complainant no.1 was informed that ALL had relapsed, but the Doctors did not admit the child and thus it amounted to negligence. Thus being dissatisfied by the Treatment, the Complainants wanted to approach AIIMS for the 2nd opinion, but for want of requisite information from the Opponents, they could not approach AIIMS and reluctantly they had to take continue with the expensive treatment at the Opponent Hospital and from the private clinic of Dr. Sachdeva. Hence the Compliant was filed.

Defense of the Opponents.

1. The Hospital and Doctors refuted all the allegations. They contended that the deceased was diagnosed as a case of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL). The necessary treatment was immediately started.

2. The opponents pointed out that the Child was very sick and was shifted to ICU. He was given Blood competent Therapy and after he became stabilized, he started responding to treatment and thereafter he was discharged. For about 2.5 years, he was under treatment including Chemotherapy as per protocol.

3. The Opponents contended that the allegations were baseless. They were following the treatment as per UK All. Even the Medical Board also discharged them from the allegations of Negligence.

4. If the complainants were not satisfied, then they should have shifted the patient to some other Hospital.

5. Even Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Institute in its expert opinion report observed that the Opponents properly followed UK XI Protocol.

Held :

1. The Commission perused the documents and relevant medical records and heard the parties at length. The Commission observed that the main thrust of the Complainants’ case is that the patient should have been admitted after finding the rise in blast cell counts from 2% to 98% on 03.01.2001.

2. The Commission asked the Complainants to submit supporting medical literature in support of their aforesaid contention. However, in spite of sufficient time given, the Complainants could not produce any such documentary evidence. Nor they could prove that the Opponents did not follow the standard protocol.

3. The Commission relied upon the famous judgment of UK Court in the case of Bolam V/s. Friern Hospital Management Committee 1957 (2) ALL.E.R .118. In the aforesaid judgment, it has been observed that,“A doctor is not guilty of negligence if he acted in accordance with a practice accepted as proper by a responsible body of medical men skilled in that particular art“.

4. The Complainants failed to prove the alleged negligence on part of Doctors and the Hospital and moreover, it could also not be proved that the Doctors did not follow the protocol and hence dismissed the Compliant.

The facts of this case goes back to 18-20 years back. Its really unfortunate that it took so much of years to decide the complaint. It is also true that no one can fathom the grief of bereaved parents. However, in the Courts, everything its decided on the basis of documents and not on emotions.

This Case again raised the important point, can the Doctor go on leave ? AS it was alleged that the Doctors went abroad in between the Treatment and thus it proved to be fatal. It reminds me the famous judgment of National Commission in the case of Shri. Manishbhai Joshi V/s. Sheth P.T. Surat Gen. Hospital & ors., wherein while dismissing the Rs. 2 Crore case National Commission held that :

A Doctor, like any other professional can take leave if felt necessary by him on account of his personal reasons or otherwise and it is the DUTY of the HOSPITAL to take alternate arrangements.”

See the judgment on the following link :

No doubt the Doctors have right to go on leave, as far as possible they should make arrangements for the Locum. Recently not having Locum landed the Gyneac-Couple from Ratnagiri, Maharashtra in trouble for advising Telephonicaly.

Again in the present case too, the proper documentation saved the Doctors. Every case teaches us some or the other lesson from the mistakes or the other. Its up to every individual whether to learn out of it or not.

Thanks and Regds,

Adv. Rohit Erande

Judgment Link :


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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  1. Now the hospital must sue the parents and set an example of repercussion unnecessary malicious litigation.