June 12th, 2017
The Delhi State Consumer Redressal Commission has directed a private hospital to pay a Rs 30 lakh fine for its negligence and deficient service in a case where a needle was left in a woman’s uterus after her delivery.
The Commission dismissed the appeal of Shree Jeewan Hospital, Karol Bagh, Delhi and ordered it to give Rs 3 lakh to the north-east Delhi resident Rubina.
The total punitive damages incurred were to the amount of Rs 30 lakh, of which Rubina was given Rs. 3,00,000/- towards compensation for causing harassment, mental agony and pain. An amount of Rs. 10,000/- was awarded as costs of litigation.
Delivery performed by a pharmacist
The Commission also noted that the delivery was performed by an unqualified person – a pharmacist.
“Instead of employing a qualified doctor who draws a salary of around Rs two lakhs, the hospital is getting the job done by a pharmacist,“ the bench headed by member N P Kaushik said
“It is not in dispute that the hospital is registered in the name of Dr. Suman Sabharwal, petitioner no. 1. Dr. Anita of the aforesaid Hospital in reply to questionnaire submitted that Dr. Raheen had performed the delivery of the complainant Rubina. It is pertinent to mention here that Ms. Raheen is registered with Delhi Pharmacy Council only as a Pharmacist, whereas she has been alleged to be a Doctor by the hospital authority. Thus, the petitioner no. 1 had employed a Pharmacist to carry out the surgery. This shows an utter carelessness on the part of the petitioner no. 1, in whose name the hospital is registered. Thus petitioner no. 1 conspired and manipulated with the records,” the bench added.
Rubina filed a case in 2009
As reported by Business Standard, Rubina was admitted to Shree Jeewan Hospital on 15 September 2009 for delivery and she gave birth to a girl child.
However, after the delivery, Rubina was bleeding profusely and she suffered immense pain and trauma.
The next day, an x-ray was conducted which revealed that a needle had been left in her uterus. A surgery to remove the needle was performed in the same hospital after two days.
Another two months later when an ultrasound was conducted, it was revealed that her uterus had retroflexed and she would never be able to conceive again. She then filed a complaint with the police and the consumer forum.
Rubina still faces multiple health problems due to the hospital’s negligence. She told India Today that she spends close to Rs 4000 on the treatment of her uterus every month. The daily doses of medicines also make her weak.
During the case, while denying negligence, the hospital admitted the presence of a needle in Rubina’s womb.
The Logical Indian, while condemning the hospital’s blatant disregard for Rubina’s health, welcomes the verdict of the Delhi State Consumer Redressal Commission. Healthcare has become more akin to a profit-driven business than a system meant to provide medical treatment to the sick. The appointment of a pharmacist to perform a delivery shows the little regard Shree Jeewan Hospital has for its patients. We hope that the fine imposed will be seen as an example by hospitals across the country to take healthcare more seriously.
Read the full verdict here.