The Hospital and its directors were saved from paying Rs.90,60,000/- towards negligence after the Patient Committed Suicide in the Hospital …
“The hospital authorities, in our considered opinion cannot be held negligent for failing to prevent such unexpected events which a reasonable person is not expected to foresee”.
In an important judgment, the National Commission in its recent judgment came to the rescue of the Hospital, APEX INSTITUE OF MEDICAL SCIENCE ,KOLKATA, in the case filed by PAPIA BANERJEE.
Facts in short :
1.The Complainant, the widow of the patient late Mr. Niloy Banerjee , after he met with an accident took him to the Appellant hospital after initial treatment at some other hospital.
2. After discharge from the Appellant hospital, the patient felt acute pain in the lower abdomen and thus was readmitted with the Appellant Hospital.
3. The Patient underwent a surgery, then shifted to ICU and afterwards was shifted to general ward. next day, at about 2.30 am, the patient was found dead with multiple injuries including head and abdominal injuries due to fall from height.
4. The Complainant – widow alleged that the hospital has concealed the facts leading to the death of the patient and presumption was that the death has been caused because of surgical lapse. Hence a legal notice for claiming compensation of Rs.90,60,000/- was sent.
5. The Hospital Authorities denied all the charges and claimed that late Mr. Niloy Banerjee managed to sneak past the duty nurse and went to the roof by climbing the fire escape stairs and fell from there.
1. The State Commission turned down the charges of negligence in treatment, but held the hospital liable for guilty of deficiency in service in care of the patient in not taking precautionary steps for the safety and security of the patients admitted in the hospital.
2. However, the national Commission, in an appeal filed by the Hospital turned down the judgment of the state Commission.
3. It was further observed that the patient – Mr. Niloy Banerjee was an ordinary patient without any history of psychiatric problem, depression or mental disorder which would have required the hospital authorities to take extra care and precaution to ensure that the patient may not cause self harm or harm to someone else. The court was found quoting
The court must be careful to place itself in the position of the person charged with the duty and to consider what he or she should have reasonably anticipated as a natural and probable consequence of neglect and not to give undue weight to the fact that a distressing accident has happened.
4. In the instant case, as it is apparent from the record, Niloy Banerjee, after a surgery and recovery period in ICU was shifted to the general ward and on the fateful night he managed to sneak out the ward, climbed to roof and jumped from there, meaning thereby that this is a case of suicide for which the appellant hospital or its directors cannot be held responsible for negligence.
5. Terrific is the case in hand.. A lesson to be learnt by the Hospital and Doctors. As this is the case of 2009, perhaps there were not CCTVs in the Hospital. Now a days as every where CCTVs are installed, this will be an additional benefit.
Thanks and Regards
Adv. Rohit Erande
You can read the full judgement by clicking on the following link
Meghna A Singhania is the founder and Editor-in-Chief at Medical Dialogues. An Economics graduate from Delhi University and a post graduate from London School of Economics and Political Science, her key research interest lies in health economics, and policy making in health and medical sector in the country.
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