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NCDRC Awards Compensation of Rs.30 Lakhs in a Medical Negligence Case

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Shashwati Chowdhury

Published on: June 22, 2022 at 17:14 IST

The treating doctors failed in their duties to act with a reasonable degree of skill and knowledge, according to the National Commission’s Bench, which consisted of Justice R.K. Agrawal, President, and Dr. S.M. Kantikar, Member. They have not taken reasonable agree of care to handle the emergency by adopting basics of ABC of trauma.

The Commission said that the State Commission erred by failing to observe the doctors’ duty and by simply dismissing the complaint as an error of judgement. Since the doctors who treated the patient did not uphold their duty of care, it is not a “Error of Judgment.”

In this case, three people were injured in a serious car accident and taken to K.V.M. Hospital. During the procedure of wiring, a sudden spike in the patient’s bleeding blocked the airway, leading to the death of the patient from a lack of oxygen.

Alleging medical negligence due to improper clinical evaluation and wrong treatment from the opposite parties, the deceased’s minor sons through their uncle, Dr. Satish filed a complaint to the State Commission and sought a payment of Rs. 20,00,000 with interest. The State Commission simply deemed the complaint to be an error in judgement and dismissed it.

The Minor Sons, represented by Dr. Satish B (Uncle), appealed the State Commission of Kerala’s decision to the National Commission in under the Section 19 of the Consumer Protection Act of 1986.

Whether or not the doctors and hospital are liable for the medical negligence was the issue of consideration before the National Commission.

The treating doctors failed to perform their duties to act with a reasonable degree of skill and knowledge by adopting the ABC of trauma.

The Bench ruled that the KVM Hospital doctors’ non-adherence to the ABCs of trauma—which resulted in one doctor losing her life—was clearly an act of omission. Therefore, for a breach of the duty of care, both the Hospital (Opposite Party No. 1) and Dr. Ravindran Nair (Opposite Party No. 7) are responsible.

The National Commission overturned the State Commission’s order and noted that the complainants had prayed for compensation in the amount of Rs. 20 lakhs before the State Commission in 2001. Since we are currently in 2022, doctors and hospitals were ordered by the commission to pay Rs 30 Lakhs within three months.