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Escorts Hospital fined Rs 1 crore for medical negligence

Escorts Hospital fined Rs 1 crore for medical negligence
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,”
Additional Penalty
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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2 comment(s) on Escorts Hospital fined Rs 1 crore for medical negligence

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  1. user
    Jayanta Bhowmick May 2, 2016, 12:30 pm


  2. It may not be advisable to pass aspersions on judicial members of the Consumer Commissions, without knowing the true and detailed facts of the case. Medical negligence occurs when a doctor of ordinary prudence does what he is not supposed to do, or he does not do what he is expected to do under the existing medical facts/prevailing condition of the patient. A plain reading of the above narration of the facts of the case, indicate that the patient was initially admitted for complaint of acute pain in the left foot. Apparently during investigations, the patient was diagnosed to be suffering from heart problem for which she was operated upon. What after that …..??? Was it appropriate for the doctors not to investigate the patient and treat her for 10 days, and wake up when the patient developed gangrene ? The experts might have given opinion on the heart surgery done on the patient, but what about non-treatment of the patient for a prolonged period ?? Was it advisable to refer the patient to homeopathic doctor, when the patient had developed some surgical complications ? Why did the hospital concealed these facts from the commission ? Concealment of facts is considered to be a serious thing, as it reflects on the credibility and intentions of the person hiding the facts and the law is clear on this point – no relief can be granted to such persons who come with false and fabricated evidence.
    For want of full facts of the case, I am not in a position to appreciate correctness of the order passed by the Commission, but I am of the firm opinion that unless full and true facts are available, we should refrain from jumping on conclusions – blaming the members deciding the case and call them stupid for no germane and cogent reasons. The hospital can challenge the decision before next higher forum, if aggrieved.