Hospital to pay Rs1 lakh for 1989 negligence

February 07, 2013 - 5:27:33 am

New Delhi: Twenty-three years after being operated on the wrong side for a hernia in a Chennai hospital, a 29-year-old man has been awarded Rs1 lakh by a top consumer court that asked the private facility to compensate him for the “unnecessary suffering and agony”.

Holding out some relief for Javeed, who was only six when the ‘wrong’ operation took place, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission held C S I Rainy Hospital guilty of medical negligence. It said in a recent ruling that the hospital “is directed to pay Javeed Rs1 lakh as compensation for the unnecessary suffering and agony caused to him and his family”. 

Commission President Ashok Bhan and Member Vineeta Rai gave the hospital time untill March 31 to pay the compensation to Javeed, a resident of the Tiruvottiyur area in Chennai.

“The facts clearly indicate that the required reasonable degree of care and caution was not taken by the hospital’s doctors in the treatment of Javeed and, thus, the hospital was guilty of medical negligence, for which he should justifiably be compensated,” the commission president said.

Javeed said in his complaint that he was admitted to the hospital with a complaint of temporary inguinal hernia and was operated on August 12, 1989, after diagnostic tests.

During a follow-up visit, he said, a doctor at the hospital told him that he would have to go under the knife once again as he had been operated for left inguinal hernia and hernitomy instead of being operated on the right side. The commission ruled: “What constitutes medical negligence is now well settled through a number of judgements of this commission as also of the Supreme of the principles to test medical negligence is whether a doctor exercised a reasonable degree of care and caution in treating a patient.”

The top consumer court dismissed the hospital’s defence that the patient’s ailment was such that it required two successive surgeries on both the left and right sides and that the doctors informed his family that they would first attend to the left portion.

“The hospital has not been able to produce any evidence that Javeed’s parents were informed that he was suffering with bilateral herniatomy or that just prior to the surgery they were informed that the surgery would be conducted on the left side and not on the right side,” the commission said.

The national commission accepted Javeed’s appeal against a Tamil Nadu State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission decision that gave a clean chit to the hospital.