Maharashtra: Taking cognizance of the delay in hospitalization of a patient which eventually led to his death, the Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission directed a doctor to pay Rs 4 lakh as compensation to a deceased patient’s family holding gross negligence on his part while providing treatment.
The concerned case goes back to the year 2002, when a patient, Minesh was taken to Dr J G Kini with complaints of fever. After observation, the doctor administered an injection on the patient’s left hip and prescribed medicines to him. Although there was a marginal improvement in his health, the patient again suffered from fever four days later.
The patient was then taken to another Dr K G Dalvi, who after checking the patient’s condition, Dr Dalvi prescribed medicines and an injection.
However, at the time of giving the injection to the patient the needle and syringe fell down on the floor and Dr Dalvi had picked up that syringe and needle and without sterilizing the same, he had given injection by that needle to the patient, the father, Jagannath Zagade alleged.
The next day, the patient started getting severe pain on the left side of his hip and there was swelling at the place where the injection was given to him. Hence, the patient had again approached Dr Dalvi, who prescribed some medicines to him.
However, the swelling increased considerably. This time, the patient was rushed to Dr Kini and the family informed the doctor about the treatment taken from Dr Dalvi.
The patient’s family before the court alleged that they had no problem admitting the patient to the hospital, but both the doctors said that there was no need for the same, despite the fact that the patient was facing severe difficulty to move.
Concerned, the family admitted the patient at Harkisandas Hospital and from there he was referred to Kasturba Hospital and later to Nair Hospital. After carrying out different tests, the doctors of Nair Hospital informed that urgent surgery is required to be conducted on the patient. However, the condition of the patient was not apt for the same, which led to his demise.
The post-mortem examination revealed that death was due to massive right-sided haemothorax and disseminated intravascular coagulation and septicemia (unnatural).
Thereafter, alleging medical negligence on part of both the doctors, the family approached Consumer Guidance Society of India and sought expert’s opinion at ACASH (Association for Consumers Action on Safety and Health). The expert opinion given by oneDr.Sanjay Nagral , who was thoroughly examined in court by lawyers of all the parties concluded
by not admitting Minesh in the hospital both opponents had shown gross negligence while giving medical treatment to Minesh
While contesting the complaint, the doctors refused the said allegations and submitted written appeals with the authorities. Specifically denying the opinion given by ACASH, Dr Kini submitted that when the patient approached to him after taking treatment from Dr Dalvi, his condition was not critical at all. At that time, he had diagnosed that abscess was developing on the left hip of the patient and hence, he had prescribed injection Monocel 1 mg to him along with some tablets.
Considering rival contentions of parties, the evidence adduced by them on record and documents filed on record, the District Forum came to the conclusion that both the doctors had shown medical negligence while giving treatment to the patient. The Forum then directed them to pay Rs 4 lakh as compensation jointly or severally to the father along with costs of litigation.
Aggrieved by the same, Dr Kini appealed to the commission. However, during the pendency of the appeal, Dr Dalvi died.
During the hearing, the counsel of Dr Kini submitted that the doctor had no direct nexus to the death of the patient. “The injection which caused gas gangrene to Minesh on left side of his hip was also given by opponent no.2 by unsterilized needle and syringe.”
Hearing both sides, the bench presided by honourable Justice AP Bhangale and Judicial Member D R Shirasao, noted, “On perusal of record it has become clear that gas gangrene had developed to Minesh due to injection given by opponent no.2 by unsterilized needle and syringe.”
However, the bench observed that the contention made by Dr Kini that he is not liable in respect of the death of the patient, as the doctor was informed about the administration of the unsterilized needle, which had caused gas gangrene because of which the patient’s condition had become serious. The bench said,
“We are of the opinion that when gas gangrene had developed to Minesh on left side of his hip due to injection given to him by unsterilized syringe and needle, only remedy was to get him admitted in hospital for an operation and to drain the pus from the gas gangrene. In this case it is particular to note that when Minesh was brought to clinic of opponent no.1 on 04/09/2002 Minesh and his brother was willing to admit Minesh in hospital. Brother of Minesh had also informed that he can admit Minesh in Harkisondas Hospital as the staff of that hospital is known to him. In this case it is particular to note that, however, opponent no.1 had advised Minesh that his condition is not critical and he is not required to be hospitalized. On the contrary he had prescribed some medicines to Minesh and advised him to take the same after taking the opinion of Opponent no.2 as at that time he was taking medical treatment of opponent no.2.
We are of the opinion that because of this wrong advice was given by both, opponent no.1 and opponent no.2 to Minesh, the condition of Minesh had become critical due to gas gangrene developed on the left side of his hip. Ultimately, in the night of 04/09/2002 condition of Minesh had become critical and on 05/09/2002 he was required to be hospitalized. In this case, it appears that due to the weak health ofMinesh he could not be operated upon and ultimately he died in the morning of 06/09/2002.”
Noting the expert opinion of Dr.Sanjay Nagral and stating that nothing has come on record to disbelieve opinion given by him, the bench stated,
“Hence, it has become clear that the advice given by opponent no.1 to Minesh that his condition is not critical and there is no need of hospitalization of Minesh was totally wrong and because of which delay had been caused in admitting Minesh and because of which death of Minesh had taken place. Hence, we are of the opinion that considering all these facts Ld.District Froum had rightly come to the conclusion that opponent no.1 was also responsible along with opponent no.2 in giving medical negligence to Minesh.”
In conclusion the bench asserted,
The Ld.District Forum had directed both the parties for giving compensation to the complainant. However, as opponent no.2 died, now, it is the responsibility of opponent no.1 to pay entire amount of compensation to the complainant.