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HomeLegal NewsSupreme Court holds ophthalmologist negligent for a botched surgery:

Supreme Court holds ophthalmologist negligent for a botched surgery:

84 years old offered compensation along with interest @ 12% after 20 years

New Delhi: In a medical negligence case spanning over 20 years, the ophthalmologistwas held negligent on account of a botched surgery which led to the vision loss of the patient. The patient an 84 year old man was granted relief by the court and the ophthalmologist was directed to pay Rs. 2 Lakhs compensation along with interest @ 12% per annum to the complainant within two months, failing which the interest shall be enhanced to 15% per annum.

The case is of a botched surgery where in the complainant, P. C. Jain, lost vision in his left eye due to the medical negligence committed by the ophthalmologist during a surgical procedure in 2002–2003. The complainant filed a consumer complaint before the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (DCDRC), Faridabad wherein the ophthalmologist was held negligent and the complainant was awarded Rs. 2 Lakhs with 12% interest per annum from the date of filing the complaint. The ophthalmologist challenged the decision in the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC), Haryana. The SCDRC allowed the appeal and dismissed the complaint whereby the complainant filed an appeal in National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (NCDRC) which again held the ophthalmologist negligent which led to the ophthalmologist appealing in Supreme Court. The National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (NCDRC) allowed the award of compensation to the patient after a round of litigation before the various consumer forums.

The Supreme Court observed that the patient has been contesting this long-drawn-out litigation for a rightful claim of compensation for more than 20 years. The complainant had preferred an appeal before the Supreme Court for the release of the compensation amount against the ex-parte order of the NCDRC, which recorded that the complainant had received the compensation amount. However, as per the version of the patient, he hadn’t received a single penny of the compensation amount from the doctor, and the doctor misrepresented the NCDRC to pass such an order. The Bench of Justices B.R. Gavai and Sandeep Mehta, after noting that the complainant has not received a single penny towards compensation for the loss of vision suffered by him owing to the medical negligence committed by the respondent doctor, directed the doctor to pay the compensation of Rs. 2 lakh with an interest rate of 12% per annum to the complainant within two months, failing which the interest shall be enhanced to 15% per annum.

The Ethics Committee of the Medical Council of India (MCI) also held that the doctor violated of the Professional Misconduct, Etiquette, and Ethics Regulation, 2012. MCI recommended the removal of his name from the Indian Medical Register for six months. “In wake of the discussion made hereinabove, we modify the orders passed by the NCDRC and direct that the appellant, P.C. Jain, shall be entitled to receive compensation of Rs. 2 lakhs only with interest at 12% per annum from the respondent, Dr. R.P. Singh, with effect from the date of filing of the complaint until actual payment is made.”The court observed, “The review petition filed by Dr. R.P. Singh was allowed ex parte by the NCDRC in a totally cavalier fashion without putting the complainant to notice”. The court also charged a cost of Rs. 50,000 to the doctor for making a false representation that the amount of compensation had been paid to the complainant. The cost has to be paid to the complainant. The court eventually allowed the civil appeal of the complainant’s patient.