Dismissing a complaint from a deceased patient’s widow, the National Commission observed that a physician is free to choose whom to serve except in case of an Emergency. The Commission also mentioned that it’s in the interest of both doctors and patients that such cases aren’t unnecessarily dragged to the Court.

The compliant based on shaky grounds

The complaint was filed for damages of Rs.2.5 Crores by the widow of a deceased patient. The complaint was made on the ground that the woman’s husband who was diagnosed with Inferior Wall Myocardial Infraction(IWMI) wasn’t given emergency treatment during the golden hour. The claim was that the doctor refused to perform the initial stenting as it was his holiday.

After a thorough study of the related records and medical literature, the National Commission concluded that no medical negligence was made i. The reason why the primary PCI(Percutaneous Coronary Intervention) was not performed was non-availability of the cardiologist. The patient was then referred to a higher center and the records make it clear that he was given all the possible proper treatment.

The Commission also points out that referring a patient to a higher center is hardly medical negligence.

The verdict relied on a landmark Supreme Court Judgement from 2010(Kusum Sharma & Others Vs. Batra Hospital & Medical Research Center & Others (2010) 3 SCC 480) which stated that the CPA(Consumer Protection Act) shouldn’t be an impediment to doctors to take fearless judgements at crucial moments.

What with the lack of counter-liability and the absence of a need to pay court-fee to file a consumer complaint, it has become a disturbing trend in the nation to file flimsy cases against doctors. The complaint that is mentioned here is only one of the more recent among them.

Baseless accusations a plague of the profession

A similar instance that’s pointed out as a groundless complaint against medical negligence was the Joseph Eye Hospital case. As a result of the complaint three doctors were imprisoned for the loss of vision of 66 patients after an eye surgery camp. It’s pointed out by many a doctor that an incidence of mass endophthalmitis points to a case of un-sterile solutions which are a problem that are caused by the pharmaceutical manufacturers.

However, in this particular case the judicial system seemingly failed to take in to consideration such facts.
Then, there’s the case of the Nephrologist, R Sreedhara of the Fortis Hospital, Bangalore which was played out more on the media than the courts-thanks to the case being featured in the Aamir Khan compered ‘Satyameva Jayate.’ The doctor was accused of medical negligence after one of his patients, Seema Rai died after a operation to solve kidney problems.

The doctor maintains that the deceased’s husband propagated falsehood against him and the hospital. The allegation was that the doctors took his wife to surgery without his consent and also that they transplanted in addition to a kidney, the pancreas of a cadaver donor-something that wasn’t just unnecessary but put his wife’s life at risk. However, Dr. Sreedhar says he has in his possession proof that shows it wasn’t what happened.

But, if the doctor does have it, not many seems to be interested in such things as proof.

Image credits: columbia.edu
Images may be indicative

   Send article as PDF