Maharashtra ranks third in clearing medical negligence cases

12 March, 2016

The 8th edition of the annual medico legal review held in Chandigarh reported that Maharshtra has become the third litigating state in the field of medical negligence with 17% of all medical legal cases. On Friday, the 8th Annual Medico Legal Review, 2016 meet was held at Le Meridian in Pune by Institute of Medicine & Law (IML). The aim was to analyse the complete medico legal environment in the country, compiling comparative statistics of medical malpractice cases, examining current trends in medical malpractice cases and underlying reasons for increasing cases of medical negligence. This was expressed both by experts from medical and legal fraternities while discussing the various aspects of legal complications involved in medical treatments; particularly those with medical neglicance or faulty medical events occuring during treatment regimes. As per the study, in the number of medical cases were against the doctor or the hospital, Punjab topped the charts with 26 per cent of total cases filed in the consumer courts at national, state and district levels. West Bengal, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu followed with 17 per cent, 16 per cent and 11 per cent, respectively. The IML team also pointed how even smaller and backward states like Chattisgarh too are increasingly coming to the fore. Chattisgarh was in the 6th position last year for filing cases against medical experts in the consumer courts. Supreme court lawyer and director of Institute of Medicine and Law (IML)Mahendrakumar Bajpai said, "At many occasions, the judges are caught in a fix due to limited knowledge about medicine and related issues, thereby sometime delaying in awarding a judgement. There is an urgent need being felt about a having doctor to advide the legal team in order to handle these cases better," Bajpai also highlighted how laws take into consideration the doctor's experience, for his/her on-spot decisions taken during the treatment procedures like surgery, prior to pronuncing a judgement. Among the several reasons that the patients file complaints, the key ones included medical negligance by doctors, delay in initiating treatments, charging exorbitant medical fee and lack of communication between the hospital and patient's family about the treatment, medical fees, etc. He said, "The number of cases in consumer forum in State and National consumer forum is increasing against hospital, doctors for negligences as most of the judgement are in support of customers satisfaction." When asked about this need of having a doctor on the panel, an official on the condition of anonymity said that the Medical Council of India (MCI) is failing to do its duties in addressing these legal cases. "MCI is comprised of doctors and other experts from the medical fraternity who are well aware and understand the cases better." said an expert at the session.