Karnataka Court Convicts Three Doctors for Medical Negligence

Medical Negligence doctor law insider

Mitali Palnitkar

Published On: January 16, 2022 at 16:16 IST

A Court in Bidar, Karnataka convicted three doctors for subjecting a woman named Sampavathi to death by operating her without any ventilator facility and life saving equipment.

Dr Rajashree, Dr Vaijinath, and Dr Saibanna of the Susrut Nursing Home were convicted by the Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC), Abdul Khadar and the 2nd Additional Senior Civil Judge.

The three Accused were convicted under Section 304-A r/w Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). They were sentenced with a simple imprisonment of two years and a fine of Rs 10,000. In case of default of payment, one shall be sentenced with six months of simple imprisonment. The fourth person to be convicted by the Court was Dr Rajshekhar Veerabhadrappa Patil, who belonged to another hospital.

On October 12, 2014, Sampavathi was admitted in Susrut Nursing Home for undergoing the laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy operation. The three Accused failed to inform about the woman’s condition to her family and did not follow the pre-opertaion procedures. She was later shifted to Rajsekhar’s (fourth Accused) hospital.

Rajasekhar got Sampavathi admitted to help the other three Accused to screen their negligent act. He declared her death late, knowing that she died early morning. His intentional act got him convicted under Section 202 IPC for failing to give information. He was sentenced with six months simple imprisonment and Rs 5,000 fine.

Sampavthi’s brother lodged a complaint at New Town Police Station, Bidar. The Prosecution examined 11 witnesses to prove the guilt of Accused.

It was found that the major surgery was done under general anesthesia, without ventilator and oxygen facility. They also failed to follow the pre-surgery procedures. The postmortem report also proved that if the three Accused had taken due care and precautions, the deceased would not have died of complications.

The Defense argued that the Prosecution failed to prove the complication of pulmonary edema was not likely to occur during the surgery which was significant to prove the medical negligence. It also argued that the first Accused was an experienced and qualified laproscopic surgeon. Also, doctors cannot be held liable for every death during medical treatment.

The Court on observing all the facts concluded, “Therefore, Prosecution has proved the negligence on the part of the Accused No. 1 to 3 and has proved the destruction of evidence on the part of Accused No. 4 beyond all reasonable doubt and hence the benefit of doubt is not extended to the accused persons.”

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