Rs 10 Lakh compensation for man who got sucked into MRI machine at Nair Hospital: Bombay HC
Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which runs the BYL Nair Hospital, to pay an interim compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the family of a 32-year-old man who died last year after getting sucked into an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan machine at the institute.
Medical Dialogues team had reported about the frightful accident and subsequent death of Rajesh Maru. Maru had accompanied a relative to the hospital for an MRI examination. There, as per protocol, Maru and his relative were directed to rid themselves of all metallic objects considering the presence of strong magnetic waves of the MRI machine.
However, the ward boy had allegedly asked him to carry an oxygen cylinder meant for his relative into the MRI scan room.
When he entered the room carrying a liquid oxygen cylinder, the strong magnetic field got activated, pulling him violently towards the machine. The oxygen cylinder burst on impact and he died after inhaling copious quantities of the gas.
Consequently, an FIR was filed and a radiologist and another doctor along with 2 hospital staff had been arrested.
Later; Maru's family filed a petition seeking compensation while accusing the hospital of negligence.
According to the plea, this ward boy had assured Maru that the MRI machine inside the room would be switched off and therefore, there was no risk in carrying the cylinder inside. The BMC and hospital authorities, however, have not confirmed if such an assurance was given to Maru.
It turned out that the machine hadn't been switched off and so when Maru entered the scan room with the oxygen cylinder, he got pulled towards the MRI machine. His left hand and a part of his body got stuck into the machine and the oxygen cylinder started to leak. Maru sustained injuries from being sucked into the machine and from inhaling huge quantity of leaked oxygen and died.
An internal inquiry by the hospital and the civic authorities charged the ward boy and the female attendant for "negligence".
The hospital and the BMC, however, opposed the plea filed by Maru's family on the ground the FIR registered in the case and statements of witnesses, among other things, did not establish clearly the reason why Maru was pulled into the machine.
During the hearing on the case, Bombay High Court bench of justices Akil Kureshi and S J Kathawalla held that all material evidence on record had led the court to come to "strongly conclude" that "but for the negligence of the hospital authorities, the unfortunate incident wouldn't have occurred". As metal objects are not allowed inside rooms having MRI machines; it was observed that the death was caused due to the negligence of the hospital authorities.
Therefore, the authorities could not escape their liability of compensating the family of Maru for the incident, the judges said.
The court said pending the completion of the police probe into the case and the final hearing in the matter before it, the BMC must pay the compensation amount of Rs 10 lakh to the victim's family.
"But for the negligence on the part of hospital authorities, the unfortunate incident would not have occurred. Therefore, the authorities could not escape their liability of compensating the family of Maru for the incident.”
It asked the civic body to pay the amount to the family through a five-year fixed deposit in a bank.
The court, however, noted that the FIR, witnesses' statements, the civic inquiry and the affidavit filed in the high court by the hospital, confirmed the "fundamental issue" raised in the plea -- that Maru had not entered the MRI scan room without permission, and more significantly, that he had been handed over the oxygen cylinder by the ward boy.
Therefore, a clear case of negligence on part of the hospital staff had been established, the court said.
The judges said at the present stage, the court needn't get into the question whether the ward boy had assured Maru that the MRI machine would be switched off and ruled
"This court also can't lose sight of the fact that the hospital authorities charged two of their employees with negligence in the case
"As per the employer, its staff was negligent in discharging their duties. Therefore,with a view to avoid such incidents, the BMC has to pay interim compensation
The court directed the authorities to make the payment for the fixed deposit within six weeks from now.