If the doctor waives off his fees, will he still be held liable for medical negligence and pay compensation to his patients?


eMediNexus    10 December 2022

Waiving off fee does not take away the responsibility of the doctor. If the doctor has not charged his fees but has committed medical negligence or does not treat his patient properly, then also the doctor shall be liable to pay compensation to the patient and/or patient’s relatives for the same. 


So, the doctor cannot be held liable for not waiving off his fees or for not providing the services free of charge. Even the so-called humanitarian approach of the hospital authorities could not be considered as a factor in denying the compensation for mental agony that the patient suffers.


In the matter of Malay Kumar Ganguly vs Sukumar Mukherjee & Ors. AIR 2010 SC 1162, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has held that:


“We must bear in mind that negligence is attributed when existing facilities are not availed of. Medical negligence cannot be attributed for not rendering a facility which was not available. In our opinion, if hospitals knowingly fail to provide some amenities that are fundamental for the patients, it would certainly amount to medical malpractice. As it has been held in Smt. Savita Garg (supra), that a hospital not having basic facilities like oxygen cylinders would not be excusable. Therein this Court has opined that even the so-called humanitarian approach of the hospital authorities in no way can be considered to be a factor in denying the compensation for mental agony suffered by the parents. The aforementioned principle applies to this case also in so far as it answers the contentions raised before us that the three senior doctors did not charge any professional fees.”

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