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Hospital held not negligent : Still pays Rs.7 Lakhs to the patient family on humanitarian grounds

New Delhi : In a heartwarming gesture by the accused hospital that was held not negligent by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) decided to pay Rs. 7 Lakhs to the family of the deceased patient on humanitarian grounds that was deposited with the Kerala State Dispute Redressal Commission (KSDRC). The KSDRC had granted ₹7 lakh as compensation to the patient’s family, finding the hospital and doctors at fault for the patient’s demise. However, NCDRC Presiding Officer Dr. SM Kanitkar overturned this decision. Nonetheless, the hospital still expressed its readiness to pay the already deposited ₹7 lakh to the State Commission. The NCDRC accepted this agreement but emphasized that it should not be regarded as a precedent for other negligence cases against the doctors and hospitals.

The case involved the unfortunate death of a 37-year-old patient who underwent laparoscopic sterilization surgery. As per the complainant, the cause of death indicated that both general anesthesia and spinal anesthesia were administered to the patient simultaneously. The complainant contended that the surgery was conducted in a casual manner and raised concerns about the doctor’s qualifications to administer anesthesia since they were not an anesthetist. Conversely, the doctors argued that they provided attentive care to the patient, promptly transferring them to a higher-level medical facility, and making decisions in the best interest of the patient. The Commission determined that the doctor possessed the necessary competence to administer anesthesia for minor procedures.

In its decision, the NCDRC made a reference to the landmark case of Jacob Mathew v State of Punjab, in which the Supreme Court had established the criteria for determining medical negligence. The NCDRC highlighted that not every case of unsuccessful treatment or patient death during surgery should be automatically attributed to medical professionals being negligent.