Madras HC orders Rs 25,000 compensation to patient's kin bitten by rat in hospital
Madurai: The principal secretary of the health department was directed by the Madras High Court to pay a compensation amount of Rs 25,000 to a 57 year old woman who was bitten by a rat inside the Government Rajaji Hospital, Madurai district in 2014. According to a media report in the Times of India, the petitioner's son was admitted as an in-patient in the hospital in 2014 after he was...
Madurai: The principal secretary of the health department was directed by the Madras High Court to pay a compensation amount of Rs 25,000 to a 57 year old woman who was bitten by a rat inside the Government Rajaji Hospital, Madurai district in 2014.
According to a media report in the Times of India, the petitioner's son was admitted as an in-patient in the hospital in 2014 after he was seriously injured in a road accident. The concerned incident took place when the petitioner was staying at the hospital as an attendant with the patient. She was reportedly bitten by a rat on her left elbow which led to pain and swelling, following which she took treatment as an outpatient in the hospital.
Following that incident, the petitioner had given a representation to the authorities in February 2014 asking to prevent the rat menace at the hospital. Due to the non-response from the authorities, she had filed a petition at the HC Madurai bench in 2014, where she sought compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the injury suffered by her.
The counter affidavit filed by the dean of GRH stated that the petitioner did not approach the medical officer on the very night when she was bitten, instead took treatment on January 31, 2014.
Justice CV Karthikeyan stated that a copy of the medical receipt given to the petitioner which was enclosed as a document along with the petition shows that the nature of treatment provided to the petitioner was for rat bite. Newspaper reports related to the incident were also produced by the petitioner.
The judge noted that it might not be proper from the court's side to rely on newspaper reports. However, the court observed that it is justified that the petitioner had suffered a rat bite, which could not be brushed aside the carpet and made out to be a false statement. The court noted that the GRH authorities would have definitely submitted a rejoinder to the newspaper reports if it was a false claim.
According to a media report in the New Indian Express, the judge noted that the then medical superintendent of the hospital had spoken to the media about the blockages in the drainage system that led to a rat menace in the hospital.
The court stated that the rat bite in the GRH is an unforeseen accident and compensation is automatically payable when such accidents take place.
The judge noted that the petitioner had undergone a treatment only once and noted that there is no evidence or documents submitted by the petitioner which would prove that she had to undergo treatment for multiple days. The judge noted that therefore the petitioner deserves a compensation of Rs 25,000.
The court stated that it is the principal secretary of the health department who is ultimately liable to pay the compensation, reports the TOI.
However, the principal secretary had filed an application earlier which sought to remove him as a party to the writ petition, however the court observed that the said attempt by the principal secretary is only with a motive to evade the responsibility.