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HomeLegal NewsOral consent during emergency is not negligence : Punjab SCDRC

Oral consent during emergency is not negligence : Punjab SCDRC

Chandigarh : The Punjab State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission has overturned and set aside order passed by Moga District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission holding Garg hospital & its doctor for admitting newborns in a serious condition in the hospital without taking written consent of the new-born child parent. The Punjab SCDRC observed that medical practitioners and hospitals can be held negligent only if their treatment fall below the standards expected of reasonably competent professionals in their field.

The Moga District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission has held Garg hospital & its doctor negligent on the ground of improper treatment, charging exorbitantly and admitting the newborns to the hospital referred from Rajiv hospital where the child were born without the consent of the newborn children’s parent. The district consumer forum awarded a compensation of Rs. 28,500/- to the newborn children’s parent.

The fact of the case was that a woman delivered three babies at Rajiv Hospital, Moga. After the delivery the babies’ condition was extremely critical and hence were referred to Garg Hospital, Moga for further treatment. The complainant, the babies’ father alleged that the referral from Rajiv Hospital to Garg Hospital was done without his consent and also the Garg hospital and doctors provided improper treatment and diagnosis to the babies. Furthermore the complainant alleged that the doctors misbehaved with him and charged him exorbitantly. On the other hand Garg hospital contested these allegations arguing that it was Rajiv hospital that had referred the babies to them and thus the onus of taking consent is with them. Garg hospital further said that the babies were premature and critically ill due to oxygen deficiency caused by immature lungs. The hospital said that they have provided proper treatment as per the medical procedure with no service deficiency. The hospital alleged that the complainant did not want to pay the bill of Rs.76,608/- raised by the hospital.

Considering the facts placed before them, the Commission said that in the present case neither there is any error nor any allegations of gross negligence by the complainant. The first allegation is that the complainant did not give consent for the treatment to Garg hospital. In that case the commission said the complainant should have made Rajiv hospital a party in the case as the onus of taking consent is with the hospital that is referring. Also the commission agreed to the defense of Garg hospital that oral consent was taken by Rajiv hospital which is permitted in case of emergency. The second issue of improper treatment was ruled out by the commission as the complainant failed to bring expert opinion to prove improper treatment. Finally the Commission ruled out that the issue of charging exorbitantly cannot be sustained as Garg hospital charges are the same as that of Suresh Nursing Home where the babies were admitted from Garg hospital. Considering the above facts the State Commission set aside the award of the District Commission and held that the Garg hospital and doctor not negligent or deficient.

Legal PrescriptionOral consent is permitted during emergencyWhile referring a patient, the referring hospital/doctor should take written consent for referral from the patientWhile admitting a referred patient the admitting hospital should take written consent from the patientInvoice raised for treatment should have details of each and every service offered to the patient and its cost during the course of treatment