Patient gives birth after failed tubectomy: NCDRC reverses state commission's order, says no medical negligence
New Delhi: The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) recently reversed a State Commission order awarding compensation for failed tubectomy while reiterating the observation of the Supreme Court that the methods of sterilization / tubectomy are not absolutely safe and secure and such failures does not deserve compensation.Therefore, the top consumer court exonerated the...
New Delhi: The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) recently reversed a State Commission order awarding compensation for failed tubectomy while reiterating the observation of the Supreme Court that the methods of sterilization / tubectomy are not absolutely safe and secure and such failures does not deserve compensation.
Therefore, the top consumer court exonerated the Rajasthan State Health Department authorities from negligence while performing tubectomy operation. Before dismissing the appeal, the NCDRC bench especially took note of the fact that the complainant gave birth to a healthy, matured baby only seven months after the tubectomy operation.
"To conclude that, by any stretch of imagination, the alleged pregnancy was not due to failure of tubectomy," held the Commission as it dismissed the complaint.
The history of the case goes back to 2005 when the complainant had undergone tubectomy operation in the Family Planning Camp organized by the State of Rajasthan, The Medical Officer at the Community Health Centre, Ramganj Mandi had performed the tubectomy on 07.11.2005.
However, after two months of the tubectomy, the complainant allegedly conceived and delivered a female child. Aggrieved by this, the complainant approached the District Consumer Forum and filed a complaint.
On the other hand, the State Government authorities including the Chief Medical and Health Officer of Nayapura and Medical Officer and In-charge of the Community Health Centre denied negligence on their part. They submitted that the tubectomy operation had been performed by qualified Surgeon at CHC and several other women also underwent the operation successfully. They pointed out that recanalization is known after the tubectomy and therefore it cannot be said as negligence.
After considering the matter, the District Forum had allowed the complaint and awarded Rs 2 lakh compensation to the complainant along with litigation cost of Rs 5000.
The District Commission in its order had mentioned that there was no need for any Specialist Report, because the complainant ought not have given birth after the tubectomy operation and it proved that the operation remained unsuccessful.
"The facts of failure of Nusbandi Operation of the Complainant and thereafter by her giving birth to a child, suo motu establishing the negligence and deficiency in service of the Respondent No.3," the District Commission had held.
Challenging the order, the State authorities approached the State Commission, which allowed the appeal partly and reduced the amount of compensation to Rs 1,00,000. Aggrieved by this, authorities filed Revision petition before the top consumer court.
The NCDRC bench heard both the sides and also perused the material on record. It was noted by the Commission that both the fora had overlooked the fact that according to the Complainant, she had conceived after three months of tubectomy operation i.e. around February 2006. However, surprisingly, she delivered the baby in June, 2006.
Holding this proposition to be unbelievable, the Commission noted, "Thus in my view, the pregnancy was already existing prior to tubectomy and it was unnoticed during tubectomy."
After carefully analyzing the period of pregnancy and the date of the tubectomy operation, and taking note of the fact that the complainant had given birth to a healthy matured baby, the top consumer court observed,
"Thus, it clearly indicates, in the month of September, 2005, she conceived (became pregnant), which was earlier to tubectomy (07.11.2005). Thus, on 07.11.2005, she was in early pregnancy (in between 2 – 2 ½ months). To conclude that, by any stretch of imagination, the alleged pregnancy was not due to failure of tubectomy."
The Commission held that both the fora had erred on the calculation of pregnancy period and arrived to erroneous finding that there was pregnancy due to tubectomy failure.
While after considering the peculiarity of the case, the counsel for the authorities expressed that they might consider paying Rs 30,000 as under the Family Planning Insurance Scheme adopted as a National Policy. However, the Commission pointed out, "...it is pertinent to note that the Scheme was implemented from 29.11.2005, therefore, it’s a bad luck of the Complainant, who is not eligible to get the said benefit; as she underwent tubectomy on 07.11.2005."
Holding that the concerned case does not fall under failure of tubectomy operation, the top consumer court further clarified,
"Even otherwise, it is well settled that the methods of sterilization / tubectomy are not absolutely safe and secure and such failures does not deserve compensation as held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of State of Punjab Vs. Shiv Ram and Ors."
"Based on the discussion above, the fora below have erred in holding the OPs liable for failure of tubectomy. The instant Revision Petition is allowed and the Order of the State Commission is set aside. Consequently, the Consumer Complaint No. 269 of 2008 filed before the District Forum stands dismissed," it further noted.
To read the order, click on the link below:
M.A in English
Barsha completed her Master's in English from the University of Burdwan, West Bengal in 2018. Having a knack for Journalism she joined Medical Dialogues back in 2020. She mainly covers news about medico legal cases, NMC/DCI updates, medical education issues including the latest updates about medical and dental colleges in India. She can be contacted at email@example.com.