The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has recently directed a city-based Manipal Hospital to pay compensation of Rs. 21 lakh for performing deficiency in providing treatment to minor suffering from dengue. The facts are that a 12 year old patient, who was admitted to Bapuji Child Health Research Institute and Research Centre, Davanagere on 14th May 2012. He was doing fine in the course of treatment but to gain better healthcare services he was shifted to Manipal Hospital on the next day.

The diagnosis report at Manipal Hospital mentioned that the patient was suffering from dengue shock syndrome and was kept on ventilator. He was then sedated and nasogastric tubes were inserted to his body.

The patient was given brufen, oralis, fenatyl citrate, zinetac among other drugs and fluids but no signs of recovery were observed. On 16th May, he went through a cardiac arrest and was given defibrillation or controlled electric shock treatment. The next day, more tubes were inserted into his body to draw haemorrhagic fluids. The Additional Intravenous therapy (IV) fluids and medicines like calcium gluconate, sodium bicarbonate was administered to him and blood and urine tests were performed.

Based on the test report, a sustained Low-efficiency Dialysis (SLED) treatment was given to the patient. The patient was further given a Continuous Veno-venous Haemodialysis (CVVHD) treatment and more medications when no recovery was observed.

The doctors further speculated intra-abdominal bleeding and conducted laparastomy surgery. Even after conducting all the procedures, the child could not recover and dies on 17th May in the afternoon. It was declared by the hospital that the death happened due to viral haemorrhagic fever with shock, metabolic acidosis and cardio-respiratory arrest.

The father of the deceased filed a complaint in the Consumer Forum against Dr. Ramakrishnan, paediatrician, Manipal Hospital and alleged medical negligence on the part of the doctor and the hospital.  However, the hospital denied any such allegations. The hospital further alleged that the complaint was filed for the monetary benefit.

The Consumer Court went through the entire matter and gave its order regarding the case. It pointed out that:

  • The suggestion of the purchase of additional drugs at the time of the death of the child raises questions on the genuineness of the treatment
  • There was no record maintained by the hospital about the time, details and dosage of medication according to the age and weight of the child
  • There was no record of what was found our after the laparostomy surgery

The order stated:

The Court further directed the hospital to pay compensation of Rs. 21,37,036 in the case of the untimely death of the minor due to medical negligence. This includes Rs. 15,00,000 as compensation and the bill of Rs. 6,37,036 lakh, which was handed over to the parents after the two days of treatment.

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