Hospital’s incorrect reaction for its staff’s action

  • Posted on: May 13, 2020

Hospitals are liable for the act of their doctors / staff, whether part-time or full-time, and even if they are students / interns. They cannot escape the legal liability if a claim of negligence is levelled and proved against any staff member.

Meenakshi had sued a hospital and its junior doctor. Sharing her side of the story, she narrated about visiting the hospital for treatment of swelling in the right hand. An excision was performed under local anesthesia by a second year student. Despite the cries due to excruciating pain, the junior doctor did not call an anesthetist, alleged the patient.

Situation worsened after the procedure and hence she visited another hospital where it was discovered that the nerve of right hand was accidently cut, claimed Meenakshi. Such a callous behavior must not go unpunished, was the frantic patient’s final plea.

The hospital tried to divert attention by reading out medical record. It was stated that the patient was referred to the OPD, she was given physiotherapy and the sutures were removed. Moreover, the hospital cannot be held liable for any negligible act of its staff, claimed the hospital.

The Commission almost instantly rejected hospital’s submission as it was observed that the issue cropped up immediately after the procedure was performed by the second year student. Neither an anesthetist was present to oversee the procedure nor was an informed consent taken.

The hospital cannot scoot away from the responsibility of its doctors, concluded the Commission and held it and the junior doctor negligent.

Source: Order pronounced by Haryana State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 6th January, 2020.