A Good beginning of the year for Medicos. The apex Consumer court, in a recent judgement, was seen upholding that merely because the patient did not respond favourably to the treatment, cannot be a ground to fasten the liability upon the medical professional
Case Details :
Sukhdev Gill V/s. Rotary Eye Hospital & ors, H.P.
Date of Judgement: 05/01/2018
BEFORE: Hon. Dr S.M. Kantikar and Dr B.C. Gupta.
Facts in short :
1. The Complainant, a Practicing Advocate himself, went to the Opponent Hospital and after investigation, his left eye was found with a cataract as well as a squint. He was advised to undergo first squint removal surgery and then Cataract surgery.
2. It was alleged that after the surgery, there was no Doctor to look after the patient. Even the injection was given by the Chowkidar. After the removal of stitches it was found that the squint was not removed and the complainant lost his left eye vision and when the Complainant approached other Hospitals, it was found that the retina was completely detached to be cured. Thus it was clear cut negligence.
3. Thus he fielded the case in District Forum alleging that due to loss of vision, his professional career got ruined and his monthly income came down to Rs.3000/- from Rs.15,000/-. However he was awarded Rs. 1 lakh compensation. Against the decision of the district forum, the Doctors approached for reversal of the order and the Complainant approached for enhancement of the compensation. But, the Doctors appeal was allowed and Complainant’s appeal was dismissed and hence he approached the National Fora.
1. The Hospital and Doctors resisted the case of the complainant. The Doctors submitted that the right vision of the Complainant was 6/60 and correction with glass was 6/12. Whereas his left eye vision was ZERO and as per WHO guidelines he was Blind.
2. There was only a perception of light and the projection of rays was inaccurate. Moreover, Fundus examination revealed that there was old Retinal Detachment (R.D.) in his left eye. Accordingly, the patient was advised that the vision cannot be restored, but squint may be cured that too only for cosmetic purposes. Moreover, the patient was not charged for diagnosis and only material costs were recovered.
1. The National Commission after perusing the medical record and medical literature dismissed the revision petition of the Complainant.
2. It observed that none of the other hospitals/ Doctors in its prescriptions that later saw the patientm ever mentioned that RD was due to negligent or careless operation of squint correction. The Operative notes also revealed that there was old RD.
3. The squint removal was only for cosmetic purpose and the Complainant failed to prove that there was any negligence nor he produced any expert evidence.
4. It was lastly observed that Hon’ble Supreme Court in a catena of judgments have made elaborate observations on the medical negligence that for the complainant to succeed in the claim of alleged medical negligence, he has to prove the essential ingredients of medical negligence like Duty, Dereliction of duty of care (breach) and resultant Damage (injury). In the instant case, the complainant failed to prove those elements.
5. At the end, the Commission observed that it should be borne in mind that merely because the patient did not respond favourably to the treatment, cannot be a ground to fasten the liability upon the medical professional and dismissed the Complainant.
Important judgment for day to day practice. This judgment has hidden message for Doctors that proper record keeping could save Doctors from damages. Always remember,
“NO RECORD MEANS NO DEFENSE & POOR RECORD MEANS POOR DEFENSE.”
Thanks and Regards
Adv. Rohit Erande
Below is the link of the judgement