Doctors also learn by Experience: HC dismisses Criminal case against doctor for administering Remdesivir
Bilaspur: The Chhattisgarh High Court has recently denied admitting a petition alleging medical negligence against a treating doctor at a Raipur-based Private Hospital for administering Remdesivir on patient, who died out of post-COVID complications.
Pointing out that the pandemic has returned after 100 years, the High Court bench comprising of Justice Goutam Bhaduri observed, "The Doctors like the rest of us, have to learn by experience, and experience often teaches in a hard way."
"Therefore, putting the Doctors to a criminal prosecution for negligence would lead to create a lot of emotional disturbance, at the time of pandemic when the doctors have served the ailing besides the fact doctors-patient ratio has miserably failed and doctors made their best effort to revive the ailing one, no criminal negligence can be attached on any individual opinion. Under these circumstances, one has to indicate trust in the system and cannot be allowed to abuse the conditions, maybe a self-certified bonafide," the judgment dated 02.07.2021 mentioned.
The case concerned a 69-years-old patient, who is the mother of the patient and was admitted to the Raipur-based private hospital on September 22, last year with an infection of Jaundice and no symptom of Covid-19.
As she tested positive for Covid-18, she was put in a Covid ward and the treating doctor administered Remdesivir injection to the patient in the course of the treatment. Her health worsened from September 26 and subsequently, the admission of Remdesivir injection was stopped.
Although the patient tested negative on September 29, she died due to post-covid complications on October 2, 2020.
Thus, the prayer of the petitioner, in this case, was that while on one hand, his mother died due to wrong treatment of administering Remdesivir injection and on the other, the hospital didn't comply with the covid protocol norms in handling the dead body.
The counsel for the petitioner submitted before the court that as per the guidelines, the Hospital was required to give the body in a double layer leak proof zipped body bag and to be handed over to the transport employee. However, in respect of the case of the petitioner's mother, it was handed over to the petitioner instead and the petitioner carried the body to Ambikapur and cremated the body there only.
Demanding penal action against the treating hospital, he further informed the court that the applications complaining the incidents were made to the respective Director, Health Services wherein allegations were made but it was not taken care of.
After listening to the contentions of all the parties, the HC bench referred to the Supreme Court judgment in the case of Dr. Suresh Gupta v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi & Another, where the Apex Court had held that Doctors would not be able to save lives if they were to tremble with the fear of facing criminal prosecution.
Reference was also made towards the Apex Court judgment in the case of Jacob Mathew v. State of Punjab & Another, which had laid down certain guidelines for a better understanding of the concept of medical negligence.
Pointing out the fact that being the second most populous country in the world the health condition in the country cannot be the best, the HC bench observed,
"This condition worsened and aggravated as any amount of effort by the medical would not be made satisfactory for the pressure of population and patient especially during covid pandemic."
"The pandemic have returned after 100 years, no medicine is invented, as such, the doctors to the best of their ability and understanding have administered different injection to the Covid-19 infected patients. This may be attended by risks, one has to understand the fact that the system cannot take benefits without taking the risks and every advance in technique and experience is also attended by risks. The Doctors like the rest of us, have to learn by experience, and experience often teaches in a hard way," noted the High Court.
"Therefore, putting the Doctors to a criminal prosecution for negligence would lead to create a lot of emotional disturbance, at the time of pandemic when the doctors have served the ailing besides the fact doctors-patient ratio has miserably failed and doctors made their best effort to revive the ailing one, no criminal negligence can be attached on any individual opinion. Under these circumstances, one has to indicate trust in the system and cannot be allowed to abuse the conditions, maybe a self-certified bonafide," the judgment further added.
Further referring to the allegations regarding the violations of Covid protocol while handling the dead body, the HC bench clarified that "in exercise of power under Article 226 of the Constitution can not go into the roving enquiry."
"This Court, therefore, would refrain itself to go into the exercise of investigation. Serving certain problem requires multi-pronged approach and they would persist if viewed through narrow lens and the petitioner therefore cannot accept ill-conceived exercise by this court to substantiate the fact and allegation," noted the court before dismissing the petition.
To view the original judgment, click on the link below.