‘Heavier’ the liability, higher the compensation

  • Posted on: November 26, 2020

Several factors are considered while awarding compensation in acts of medical negligence. The extent of liability of the treating doctor is one such aspect that was considered in this case.

The patient was diagnosed with multiple stones in gall bladder the doctor performed a surgery, and informed him that the bladder was removed. After about eight months, the patient experienced severe stomach ache and an ultrasonography (USG) was performed which reported well distended gall bladder with several gall bladder stones!

The patient was shocked as he had thought that the gall bladder was removed earlier. He underwent another surgery after which it was eventually removed.

He sued the doctor who simply stated that there was swelling in the Calot’s triangle as the bladder was adherent to the liver and hence, it was partially removed to avoid injury to Common Bile Duct.

The Commission instantly rejected the defence as it was observed that the doctor had taken an informed consent to perform laparoscopic cholecystectomy, and had not informed the patient about partial removal. Even the discharge summary was silent about this fact.

Observing that there was a ‘heavy liability’ on doctor for this act of negligence, the compensation awarded by the District Commission was increased. The doctor doled out more than one lakh rupees compensation.

Source: Order pronounced by State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Haryana on 8th January, 2020.