Hospitals! It is an emergency…

  • Posted on: April 18, 2020

Hospitals and nursing homes are bound by law to provide relevant emergency services to patients that may require them during their stay. It is advisable to refer the patient to a higher centre without wasting any time in case emergency services that he / she may require are not available.

Geeta, a pregnant woman, was admitted to the hospital for delivery. At the operating table, the doctors discovered that her case was a complicated one and hence, referred her to another hospital.

An ambulance was arranged to transfer her, although it did not have any emergency facilities or equipment. Geeta, unfortunately, succumbed to postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) during the transit.

The heartbroken husband sued the hospital and alleged that the patient was transferred in a regular ambulance with no facilities or equipment to manage any complications. He pleaded that Geeta was referred to another hospital as she could not be managed at the first hospital, hence, it became all the more necessary to transfer her in an ambulance fitted with relevant emergency facilities.

The Commission perused medical records and gave its verdict. The hospital, Commission observed, was negligent. Not for the treatment that was provided or for PPH, but for accepting the pregnant patient in spite of knowing well that they did not have an emergency ambulance service, which a pregnant patient may require.

The hospital was not only held negligent but also fined for this lapse in providing most basic of emergency service to a patient.

Source: Order pronounced by Himachal Pradesh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 21st December, 2019.