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Hospitals need to show a human touch, a duty ought to be followed and implemented- Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission said while granting compensation to a man, who had lost his pregnant wife and unborn child to medical negligence a decade ago.
The consumer body asked a city hospital to pay Rs 20 lakh fine for the grief, suffering and mental agony faced by the man, Yogesh Watwani, and his two children.
Commission member Anil Srivastava said the woman was left unattended given that emergency is an inevitable consequence in a labour room. “Patient… was virtually left unattended establishing prima facie negligence on the part of the treating doctor. Secondly, the hospital — considered to be well-equipped to meet any untoward situation — could not arrange an anaesthetist when required the most..,” he said.
Watwani’s wife was nine-month pregnant when she was taken to Holy Angels Hospital. Before that she was regularly going to the hospital for checkups. Dolly was perfectly “hale and hearty” as she went to the hospital on November 7, Watwani said. She was put on medication after being brought to the labour room under the supervision of Dr Jayashree Aggarwal.
At around 4pm the doctor examined her and found her to be bleeding. There were blood stains on her bed-sheet. Watwani said that the doctor, however, decided to wait for a couple of hours before carrying out a caesarian procedure on his wife. The doctor then left the hospital. At 4.50pm, Dolly complained of breathing trouble, the commission was told. On not finding anyone to attend to his wife, Watwani screamed for help. “Even then the nurse took some time to respond,” he said in his complaint.
While the doctor took 20 minutes to reach the hospital, the absence of an anaesthetist only added to the worsening condition of the woman. And before any steps could be taken for her treatment, she died.
The hospital and the doctor, meanwhile, denied Watwani’s contentions, arguing Dr Aggarwal was highly qualified and adept to deal with any critical situation.
The commission, however, pointed out that the doctor while leaving the hospital had not briefed anyone about what to deal with any emergency. “Non-availability of oxygen cylinder in the hospital needed urgently for the patient when required the most, aggravates the negligence. These facts very significantly lead to a conclusion that negligence on the part of the hospital is writ large on the face,” Srivastava held. [Source: LatestLaws.com]
- The above case falls under the purview of Consumer Protection Act (CPA) as there is deficiency of service in treating the patient and the husband of the patient is entitled for compensation.
- Non availability of an oxygen cylinder is deficiency of service as it is the responsibility of the hospital / nursing home to have oxygen cylinders with them at all time.
- Non availability of anesthetist may not be a deficiency as long as they are on panel and are easily available on call.
Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri Awardee
President Elect Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (CMAAO)
Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications
President Heart Care Foundation of India
Past National President IMA