Careless docs deserve no leniency, says SC

While hearing a medical negligence case, a bench headed by Justice Markandeya Katju said: “Doctors can today do anything. They can leave behind a forcep or a scissor inside a patient’s stomach and get away with it.” “You are that kind of a doctor who has come here to reduce the compensation amount,’’ the Judge told the advocate appearing for Dr Mahendra Prasad from Buxar in Bihar. “Six months down the line when the patient developed pain and came back, then you would discover the scissor left behind in the stomach,” the bench observed.

Justice Katju said as doctors they had certain responsibility towards the patients.

A consumer court in Buxar had held Dr Prasad guilty of medical negligence for leaving behind a screw in the leg of Pintoo Kumar who was operated upon by him for setting right a broken bone.

However, the court issued notice to Kumar and the Bihar government on a petition filed by Dr Prasad seeking direction for reducing the compensation amount of Rs 4 lakh slapped on him by the National Consumer Commission.

Prasad’s advocate submitted he had already paid about Rs 2.25 lakh to the patient in the intervening period ever since the operation at Neha Nursing Home in September 2004.

Three months after the procedure, the patient developed pain, and he needed another surgery at Apollo hospital to remove the screw. Kumar alleged Prasad was not a qualified orthopaedic surgeon to carry out such a complex surgery, but he did it for money.

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