New Delhi: The Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has recently directed All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi (AIIMS New Delhi) to pay a compensation of Rs 50 lakh to kin of an MBBS student who died living in the campus due to alleged negligence in providing treatment for dengue fever on time.
The case goes back to year 2006 concerning a deceased MBBS student at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi (AIIMS), New Delhi, Raj Kiran Kamala, who was in his 7th semester and was staying in an undergraduate hostel in the campus.
He suffered dengue fever in 2006 for which he visited emergency of OP institute for the treatment. He was sent back to the hostel after a few hours even when his condition called for urgent attention. His hematocrit was 50%, platelet count was 1,05,000 and he has coffee-coloured vomiting indicating gastrointestinal bleeding.
Next day, he again reported to casualty/emergency at 12.54 PM and three hours later he was attended by a Senior Resident doctor. He was advised hospitalization after diagnosis of dengue hemorrhagic fever for which he was given a bed at 10.35 PM.
The family of the medico alleged that Casualty Medical Officer wasted time to locate a bed in the new emergency ward whereas the patient should have been immediately moved to a reserved bed in Private Ward, which was earmarked for students. The institute delayed initial diagnosis by more than 24 hours, alleged the family.
In their complaint, the family informed that the next day, a Junior Resident Doctor at around 00.30 AM reviewed the condition after which the student was shifted to ICU (C2-ICU) as his condition was serious. He had respiratory arrest after 2.30 AM. He was examined by a Neurosurgeon only at 7.40 AM in the morning. After 20 minutes, the patient had developed serious Central Nervous System (CNS) complications and hence a desperate procedure was done. During this procedure, the patient had a cardiac arrest and presumably, he was revived.
One hour later he was seen by an Associate Professor of Neurosurgery and Professor Head of Neurosurgery. Finally, the patient was shifted to Neurosurgery ICU at 12.40 PM on and was kept there with life support for the next 24 hours. Next day, in the afternoon, he was declared dead.
The kin of the deceased approached the AIIMS administration.
The Enquiry Committee at the Institute examined the matter and concluded that
“There was a delay in providing treatment to the patient. The case needed to be examined further in detail, all resident doctors posted in New Emergency Ward (Medical Casualty), who were working in shift duties, were involved in treatment on the first two days of the treatment. Thus it was difficult to fix responsibility on any specific resident doctor.”
The complainant had approached the National Commission regarding the matter. It was alleged that the institute was negligent, careless and callous in treating the deceased who was suffering from a fully curable disease.
AIIMS gave their written version objecting that complainant is not a consumer. At AIIMS no charges whatsoever for professional service rendered are taken from any patient and as such AIIMS does not fall within the ambit of Consumer Protection Act. However, the written submission by the AIIMS did not specifically deny in written statement that complainant was attended hours after going to the hospital. It however, mentioned before the court that the AIIMS had already granted ex-gratia relief of Rs.2 lakhs to the complainant.
The Commission went through the entire matter and held AIIMS guilty for delay in treatment.
The forum opined that
“On merits it may be observed that the OP did not specifically deny in written statement that complainant was attended hours after going to the hospital. The enquiry committee by President, AIIMS also gave report that there was a delay in providing treatment to the patient.”
“The sequence of events narrated by the complainant do show casualness in the attitude of OP. They were taking the things lightly as if life of a patient has no value,” the forum stated.
The State Commission stated,
“It is a known fact that getting admission in MBBS in AIIMS is an extraordinary achievement. The parents of such child had a great hope that their child would become a good doctor and earn respective income. Death of such a child at the young age of 20 years is bound to cause shock and the family is likely to lose the hope of ray.”
The consumer court further directed the institute to pay Compensation of Rs 50 lakh to the complainant.