Rajasthan: In a recent case, the Rajasthan Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has asked the Santokba Durlabji Memorial Hospital (SDMH) to pay compensation of Rs 50 lakh along with Rs 35000 as medical charges and Rs 50,000 as legal charges to a family. This comes after the court held the hospital and the associated doctor guilty of medical negligence during child birth resulting in the child developing cerebral palsy.
The case was filed by the husband of a patient who had come to the gynecology department of the said hospital for delivery. It was alleged by the complainant that during the delivery as the cord of the fetus was around his neck he could not get enough oxygen. After birth convulsions were started. Child was not treated with due care and he was discharged from the hospital. The family also further alleged that post discharge a CT scan was done on the patient and the family then discovered that he was suffering from cerebral palsy as the hospital/doctor have not taken necessary care in delivery and after the child suffered the disease . Hence the complaint demanding compensation.
The hospital in its defense pointed out that while the patient had been asked to get an ultrasound one week before the delivery, the patient did not do so. The baby was delivered with normal delivery and heart beat of the child was also normal. Doppler test was also conducted. CTG of child was also normal Further, there was no cord around the neck of the child and baby did not cry hence, he was hanged upside down. His pulse rate was also 100 hence from bag and mask oxygen was supplied. After intial care he was shifted to paediatric care unit. No medical negligence was committed by the gynaecologist . After CT scan it was found that he was suffering from cerebral palsy which is a genetic birth disease.
The court looked into the observation of the medical board set up in the case which stated that child is suffering from birth asphyxia and related to cerebral damage.Based on the evidence the court made the following observations
- The hospital, doctor have not submitted any evidence which could say that the cerebral palsy caused to the child due to genetic or birth defect
- Dr. Preeti Sharma ( gynecologist) stated in her additional affidavit that documents in regard to treatment of baby has also been submitted but to utter surprise of the Commission only discharge ticket of the baby has been submitted but history and clinical findings recorded in the discharge ticket which are based on daily treatment chart or bed head ticket has not been submitted.
Admittedly all documents in relation to treatment of the child from his birth till the discharge from the hospital are with the non-applicants inspite of this no document has been submitted to support the contention of the non-applicants. Hence, it can very well be presumed that either no documents have been prepared or if prepared are against the non-applicants
The court was seen observing as per guidelines of Medical Council for preparation of medical record it was the duty of the non-applicants to maintain indoor records in a -11- standard form from the commencement of treatment and admittedly in the present case the records have not been submitted which clearly shows the deficiency/ negligency on the part of the non-applicants
With the above observations the court was seen holding the hospital and the doctor guilty of medical negligence
Here in the present case the facts clearly shows that the new born has suffered cerebral palsy due to negligence of the non-applicants and for whole life he is in constant need of attendant. No money can compensate the suffering and helplessness of the child and trauma and mental agony of the parents. The quality of life of the family members have spoiled for ever and the child has suffered permanent disability.
The commission was also seen directing the principal secretaries of Consumer Affairs and Medical and Health to formulate guideline for keeping transparency in the hospital that patients and their attendants made aware of diagnosis, treatment procedure required and given to the patient without compromising the quality and urgent nature of the treatment.
It is a common experience that patient and their attendants remain unaware about the diagnosis, treatment and procedure during their stay in the hospital. Attendants are kept away from the patient and they are not even allowed to enter in the room where his patient is kept, in the name of hygiene, cleanliness, individuality and speciality of treatment etc. This is need of the day that patient and his attendants should be made known the diagnosis, treatment and procedure etc. and also when and how it was given as the ultimate object of the enactment is not getting or giving compensation but to have flawless service. It is much more essential in the medical field as it is question of life and death and effect the quality of life. Hospital should not claim immunity by only getting a consent letter signed by the patient or attendant which is also in many cases blank. Cases like, in hand should not repeat which left the patient and family in life long regret. Hence, we direct the Principal Secretary, Consumer Affairs and Principal Secretary, Medical and Health to formulate a scheme/guideline for keeping transparency in the hospital that patient and their attendants should know exact diagnosis, treatment procedure required and given to the patient from time to time without compromising the quality and urgent nature of the treatment and procedure given or required in the situation. The above scheme/guidelines shall be formulated within three months and be placed before this Commission.