The patient’s stem cell donor, arranged by DATRI, had backed out from the procedure at the last minute
Punjab: The state Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has directed Christian Medical College (CMC), Ludhiana, to pay a compensation amounting Rs 40 lakh along with 9 percent interest to a parent who alleged that the doctors had destroyed the bone marrow of his 7-year-old daughter.
“In the present case, the minor daughter aged 7 years of the complainant had died due to medical negligence on the part of hospital to some extent, and the complainant has been deprived of all the love and affection towards his daughter,” the commission stated in its order, which though was passed last year, has now only reached the consumer due to shortage of postage stamps, reports Indian Express.
Tribune reports about the case which is of a 7-yr-old patient, Inderpreet Singh’s daughter who was suffering from thalassaemia. The girl was admitted to CMC for treatment and later in November 2012, the doctor there told him that his daughter could be treated permanently with a bone marrow transplant.
Further, in April 2014 the doctor wrote a letter to the DATRI (blood stem cell donors’ registry) and received a letter regarding the availability of donor for the patient a few days later. Then, Inderpreet deposited Rs 16 lakh with the hospital for the transplant.
Chemotherapy was started in October 2014 as a result of which her bone marrow stem cells were destroyed. Due to chemotherapy, her platelet count started decreasing and her condition became critical. Unfortunately for the girl, her stem cell donor, arranged by DATRI, had backed out from the procedure at the last minute. The girl later died on November 4, 2014.
Inderpreet also alleged that the CMCH doctors didn’t preserve his daughter’s cell as back-up, despite having a bone marrow stem cell preservation unit and that they started chemotherapy when the donors’ cells had not even arrived at the hospital and her own cells were destroyed in the process which led to her death. He also dragged DATRI to court, demanding who should be held responsible for his daughters death.
Hospital NEGLIGENT holds court.
The forum held the hospital guilty of not preserving Harleen’s own cells
The issue arises that hospital authorities had not preserved the bone marrow stem cells of the patient itself, which were preserved in case of one Nishant Madaan. The opposition parties 1 and 2 (hospital and doctor) were required to do so. As stated by them, they have cyro preservation system for extracting cells and preserving the same for use in case of emergency. No reason has been assigned why the cells were not preserved.”
The commission further held CMCH guilty for not having proper ‘HEPA air-filtered bone marrow transplant unit’.
“The patient was kept where other patients were also there. Since the immunity level of patient was zero, there would have been proper HEPA air filtered unit for the same. Even no well informed consent has been obtained from complainant’s family and they were not informed about complications, risks etc. Accordingly, we hold there is some negligence on the part of hospital in handling the case,”
Ordering CMCH to pay Rs 40 lakh to the father, it added: “Although no amount of money would be sufficient to compensate the loss of a child, yet we assess the lump sum amount of compensation for loss of love, affection and mental tension, harassment and agony to tune of Rs 40,00,000 along with interest at 9 per cent per annum from date of filing of complaint till actual payment…along with Rs 33,000 as litigation expenses….’
The court however dismissed the complaint against Raghu Rajagopal, CEO DATRI as well as t Dr Joseph John, professor and head of department of Clinical Haematology, Haemato-Oncology & Bone Marrow (Stem Cell) Transplantation, CMCH, Ludhiana noting that the doctor and DATRI had “no control” over donor backing out at last minute, adding that stem cell donation is completely voluntary in India under existing laws
The commission dismissing complaint against DATRI adding that it does not want to “hamper or discourage the work being done by such organisations
“They tried their best to persuade the donor but they failed. As goodwill gesture, they also paid entire hospital bill amounting Rs 22.15 lakh and also returned Rs 36,000 to the complainant. DATRI is not responsible if the donor refused to donate stem cells at the last moment. Bone marrow transplant is at initial stage in India and voluntary organisations like DATRI are acting as non-profit organisations for welfare of humanity.’
Similarly dismissing the complaint against the doctor, the forum held
“Merely because the donor did not reach in time and refused at the nick of time, the doctor cannot be burdened as he had no control over the donor…”
President of the commission Justice (retd) Paramjeet Singh Dhaliwal and member Kiran Sibal on Monday ordered that a copy of the order, which was pronounced be sent to the CMC for its compliance within two months of the receipt of the order. The CMC has also been asked to pay Rs 33,000 for the litigation expenses. The interest on the compensation will be paid from the date of the complaint till the date of actual payment, as per a recent report in Tribune.