Medical negligence: hospital asked to pay compensation

Medical negligence: hospital asked to pay compensation

.In a rare move, the District Consumer Court has faulted a hospital for alleged medical negligence, and the hospital that faces a heavy fine has accepted the verdict.

In a rare move, the District Consumer Court has faulted a hospital for alleged medical negligence, and the hospital that faces a heavy fine has accepted the verdict.

The Karnataka Janarogya Chaluvali, a watchdog that tracks medical negligence cases, says nearly 99% of such cases are ruled in favour of the hospitals.

In this instance though, the court found substance in the complainant’s argument and has awarded them Rs 10.90 lakh with 18% interest per annum from the date of notice, besides other relief.

Durai Singham and his two children had filed a complaint with the consumer court on July 15, 2003, saying he admitted his wife Kamatchi at AV Hospital in Patalamma Temple Street in Basavanagudi in February 2002 following complaints of stomach ache.

Doctors at the hospital had determined that Kamatchi suffered from chronic calculus cholecystitis, fibroid uterus with a left cystic ovary and right hydro salphinx and paraumbilical hernia.

Two doctors said the medical staff decided to perform three separate operations to address Kamatchi’s condition. The operations were performed on February 9, 2002, and the doctors claimed that the patient began oral feed the following morning.

While everything appeared normal until 4.45 pm that day, Kamatchi noticed blood soaking through her gown. Doctors said the source was a “serious discharge from an abdominal wound” that was cleaned and dressed.

The patient had developed tachycardia, a condition that cranks up the heart beat by 100 beats per minute. Kamatchi had also developed hypotension or low blood pressure. Doctors immediately placed the patient under general anesthesia. The discharge summary later revealed that Kamatchi’s abdomen was filled with dark blood from the gallbladder bed area and also from the raw wound of the hysterectomy site.

The patient’s condition grew serious, with continuous oozing of blood from the hysterectomy site, the court was told. The serious condition of the patient also prompted her immediate transfer to the ICU at the Rajashekar Hospital in JP Nagar. She was declared dead at 11.45 pm the same night.

Singham and his children alleged that the doctors at AV Hospital erred by not improving her hemoglobin level.

The court ruled that the death that occurred due to hemorrhagic shock and hypoxia was the result of the doctors’ decision against performing the second operation without organising blood for transfusion.

A senior medical officer from the AV Hospital hailed the decision as “good”, though it was against the hospital. “Many of the negligence cases have no merit and many are filed under false pretenses,” he told DH.

Draft bill

The Karnataka Janarogya Chaluvali said removing healthcare from the list of services in the draft consumer protection bill through a ‘technical amendment’ in Parliament in June 2019 has effectively slammed the door on patients wanting to file cases against hospitals for medical negligence.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) had hailed the amendment in a press statement,  saying it is an important gesture towards the medical fraternity and the health industry. Government officials, however, maintained that the amendment will not stop people from bringing medical negligence cases against hospitals.