Is hospital liable for negligent acts of consulting doctors? Yes.

  • Posted on: September 08, 2022

A doctor had performed coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery after which patient developed post-operative complications. He suffered brain stroke and the operated site also got infected.

The patient eventually recovered after a prolonged stay at the hospital.

He sued the hospital and doctor, and claimed compensation. The doctor did not file a reply, which was inferred as acceptance of the error.

The hospital stated in defence that the doctor who performed CABG was a visiting consultant and not a permanent resident or employee. It was further stated that only infrastructure and facilities were provided by the hospital and hence no negligence can be attributed to it on account of doctor’s mistakes.

The Commission shot down hospital’s defence and observed that “It does not matter whether the doctors are permanent or temporary, resident or visiting consultants, whole or part time. The hospital authorities are held liable for negligence occurring at the level of any of such personnel”.

Both – the doctor and hospital – were held negligent and ordered to pay compensation.

Source: Order pronounced by Gujarat State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 7th April, 2022.