What’s the cost of negligence? Twenty lakh rupees in this case!

  • Posted on: September 21, 2018

Following a standard protocol during treatment is what’s expected from healthcare providers. While courts do accept that medicines is not an exact science, not following the known practice is viewed adversely.

Mrs. Goswami was pregnant and had approached Peerless Hospital & B.K. Roy Research Centre for delivery. Dr. Kumar performed C-section and a baby girl was delivered, but Mrs. Goswami unfortunately died. The cause of death was cardiorespiratory failure due to amniotic fluid embolism.

The patient’s bereaved husband approached the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, West Bengalwith a heavy heart and facts of the case. It was alleged that Dr. Kumar didn’t treat the patient with reasonable care both at prenatal and postnatal stage as neither did he advise test to ascertain WBC count nor did he remove the placenta within 30 minutes after performing C-section.

It was further alleged that the state director of health also had opined that there was possibility of cardiac arrest due to adverse effect of the aesthetic agent. The new-born’s right to a mother’s love and care has been taken away, concluded the patient’s husband.

Dr. Kumar and Peerless Hospital & B.K. Roy Research Centre seemed to be shrugging their shoulders at the allegations as they presented the defence. It was stated that cardiac arrest due to amniotic fluid embolism is not predictable and hence such an incidence can be called an unfortunate event but not medical negligence. It was further stated that test to ascertain WBC count was not done as the patient didn’t show any abnormality.

The Commission dismissed the defence put forth by the doctor and the hospital. Citing medical records, it was observed that the patient didn’t have any symptoms related to the possibility of amniotic fluid embolism and the same developed due to tear in placenta while performing C-section. Citing medical literature, it was further observed that amniotic fluid embolism develops due to ruptured membrane as was the case at hand.

The Commission also observed that no steps were taken to prevent amniotic fluid embolism. Moreover, the state director’s opinion about the possibility of cardiac arrest due to adverse effect of the anaesthetic agent cannot be ruled out. All these facts point towards deficiency in service and lack of appropriate care by the doctor and hospital, ruled the Commission.

A compensation of more than twenty lakh rupees is what the doctor and the hospital paid for their apparent negligence.

Source: Order pronounced by State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Uttarkhand on 10th August, 2018.