After seven years, the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Chennai, has upheld the order of the Coimbatore District Consumer Forum and thereby directed a private hospital to pay a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the family members of a woman for committing medical negligence in an operation performed on the woman in 2010.
According to Deccan Chronicle, Chitra, a lab assistant in the Department of Soil and Science, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore was admitted to Sri Ramakrishna Hospital, Coimbatore on July 17, 2010, for a hernia surgery. While conducting a ‘coronary angiogram’ on the patient, the catheter which was inserted broke into pieces and migrated to her right lower limb. Recounting her horrid experiences which followed this incident, she filed a complaint with the Coimbatore District Consumer Forum.
In the complaint, she said that her pulse rate came down as the pieces were obstructing the supply of blood to the limb. Sri Ramakrishna Hospital reportedly agreed to conduct the corrective surgery for a fee of Rs 64,475. Even though the hospital had claimed to have removed all the pieces, the complainant continued to suffer from pain and numbness.
On December 16 of the same year, Chitra’s situation worsened to a point that she was unable to move her limbs and had to be rushed to another hospital which found that the three catheter pieces were still inside her vascular system. She was then treated at that hospital.
Counter-argument by the hospital’s management
While the management of Sri Ramakrishna Hospital continued to deny allegations of negligence, in 2011, the Coimbatore District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum held the doctors of the hospital guilty of medical negligence and ruled that the complainant was entitled to receive a sum of Rs 5 lakh as compensation for causing her mental agony and other sufferings. Unfortunately, Chitra passed away while the appeal was still pending.
Even as the hospital’s management tried to appeal against the District Forum’s observations and verdict by stating that the complainant did not cite any medical expert’s opinion, a bench comprising President Dr Justice S. Tamilvanan and Judicial Member K. Baskaran dismissed the appeal and stated that she had to face immense mental agony which came about as a result of medical negligence.
The Logical Indian take
After eight years, the family of the victim will get their rightful compensation, even though the complainant has sadly passed away. Every year, cases of medical negligence by doctors or hospital staff crop up. We urge people to report such cases on time to steer clear of complications and the medical practitioners should, at the same time be held accountable. Perhaps. a provision for fast-track courts and streamlined appeal system can further reduce the hassle.