SC pulls up consumer panel in medical negligence case

Commission lapse resulted in failure of justice to Parekh whose leg was cut

The Bench held the doctor  responsible for the boy’s condition.

A bench of Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly pulled up the NCC for dismissing the petition of Marghesh K Parikh, who was awarded Rs 5,00,000 compensation by the state commission.

The State Commission had held Dr Mayur H Mehta guilty of medical negligence and awarded the compensation.  Pointing out the lapse on the part of the NCC, the bench said: “In our view the National Commission was duty-bound to pay serious attention on the respondent’s (doctor) failure to produce the case papers for six long years and called upon him to explain why the record pertaining to the treatment given to the appellant (boy) was held back from the state commission till the complainant’s evidence was virtually over.’’

These omissions on the part of the NCC are extremely serious and have resulted in failure of justice, said the judgement while emphasising the importance of bed ticket and treatment papers in such a medical negligence case.

Holding the doctor responsible for the boy’s condition, the judges said by withholding those papers till the completion of the evidence of Dr Ashwini Bhamar (another doctor who diagnosed gangrene in the patient), Dr Mehta appears to have made an attempt to mislead the state commission about the steps taken by him for treating the boy.

Six months’ time

With 16 years have gone by since Parikh’s leg was amputated, the apex court directed the NCC to decide the appeal in six months and ordered both to appear before it on November 8.

Parikh was admitted to Dr Mehta’s hospital on October 31, 1994, with loose motion and dehydration. He was administered glucose saline through the right shoulder. When his condition did not improve, on November 3, 1994, he was given glucose saline through the left foot, according to the case file.

However, in the evening, the parents noticed swelling in the toe of his left foot and discoloration in the leg.

He was taken to Dr Bhamar in Vadodara, who, after examination, amputated Parikh’s left leg below knee for gangrene.  Parikh’s father had lodged a petition before the Gujarat State Consumer Commission demanding Rs 10,00,000 as compensation for medical negligence on the part of Dr Mehta.

However, Dr Mehta denied the charges of medical negligence in his part. But the state commission had concluded that he did not exercise reasonable care while treating the boy and had awarded Rs 5 lakh compensation with 9 per cent interest from the date of complaint.

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