Consumer court orders Rs 20 lakh compensation for medical negligence

Losing mother inexpressible
NEW DELHI, Nov 13:
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commis-sion has directed a Maharashtra-based hospital and its doctor to pay a compensation of Rs 20 lakh to the family of a woman who allegedly died after giving birth due to medical negligence 26 years ago.
“There is something about losing a mother that is permanent and inexpressible – a wound that will never quite heal,” NCDRC president R K Agrawal and Member S M Kantikar stated in the judgment, quoting author Susan Wiggs.
Holding the hospital and the doctor liable for medical negligence, the bench added, “We understand how challenging and painful a Mother’s day is without mom.”
The national commission was hearing an appeal filed by the hospital and doctor against a February 2015 order of the Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission which had directed them to pay a compensation of Rs 16 lakh to the family.
NCDRC, in a judgment dated November 11, dismissed the appeal and enhanced the quantum of award, noting that the incident occurred more than two-and-a-half decades ago.
“We direct the hospital and two doctors to pay compensation of Rs 20,00,000 and Rs 1,00,000 towards the cost of litigation to the complainants,” the bench stated.
On September 20, 1995, the doctor performed lower segment cesarean section (LSCS) and a child was delivered at 9:30 am, following which the woman developed profuse vaginal bleeding, the complainants stated, adding that the doctors did not stop the bleeding till 2:30 pm.
“The patient was rushed to another hospital, but she died at around 4:30 pm on reaching there. The post-mortem report stated the cause of death was haemorrhagic shock following surgery,” the husband of the deceased and two children, who are the complainants in the case, stated.
The commission said a crucial period of over five hours was lost before transferring the patient to another hospital.
“The treating doctor failed to exercise reasonable skill and care. In our considered view, the delay in referral was fatal; it was negligence per se,” it stated.
The hospital and doctor, however, denied the allegations of negligence and deficiency.
The doctor told the commission that he had specifically advised the couple to go to a hospital where a blood bank facility is available, but they expressed their inconvenience.
He further claimed that the patient’s husband failed to arrange blood on time. (PTI)