Hospital to pay Rs 76 lakhs in Medical Negligence Case

Hospital to pay Rs 76 lakhs in Medical Negligence Case

Facts

In the present case, Respondent No.2 /Complainant had to undergo cesarean and the baby was born pre-mature at 32 weeks. The doctor advised for intensive care of the baby at Maharaja Agrasen Hospital- Appellant No.1.

At the time of admission, the baby was diagnosed as “32 weeks pre-mature” after 4 weeks of performing cesarean both the baby and the mother was discharged. No advice was given to the mother to have the Retinopathy of Prematurity test (ROP) carried out on the baby. Complainant brought the baby for follow up check-in multiple times and doctors held the baby’s condition to be stable and good  and did not recommend for ROP in any of the visits.

Later, Complainant noticed abnormal visual responses in the baby and thereafter she went to eye care hospital- the baby was diagnosed with ROP Stage 5 in both eyes means total blindness.

Initially, a consumer complaint was filed by respondent/complainant claiming compensation of Rs. 1,30,25,000/- alleging medical negligence and deficiency in service. The National Commission directed the Medical Board, AIIMS to give an expert opinion on the matter. The National Commission on examining of evidence concluded that neither the ROP was performed nor doctor recommended for follow up of ROP to the complainant. The National Commission, therefore, awarded Rs. 64,00,000/- compensation to the complainant.

Aggrieved by the above order, hospitals and doctors filed the present appeal before the Supreme Court.

Held

A bench of Supreme Court comprising of Justice U.U Lalit and Indu Malhotra held that the hospital is guilty of medical negligence as they failed to carry out the mandatory ROP test despite the multiple follow up check ups by the complainant mother. And negligence on the part of the hospital led to baby’s total blindness. Apex Court further enhanced the compensation by Rs.12,00,000/-. Thus total compensation of Rs.76,00,000/- was awarded, out of which Rs. 60 lakhs was given to the Child  for child’s education and welfare etc, Rs. 15 lakhs given to complainant mother as caregiver and Rs. 1 lakh towards litigation cost.

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