Medical negligence victims sued only hospitals rather than doctors: Report

15 March, 2016

he Annual Medico Legal Review held by Institute of Medicine and Law revealed that last year after being a victim of medical negligence, majority of the aggrieved patients sued ‘only’ hospitals rather than the doctors. Further, it also brought to light the increase in the cases of patients being forced to buy medicines from in-house pharmacies of hospitals and that allegations related to delayed and improper diagnosis doubled as compared to the previous year.

The report further highlighted that the filing of an unusually large number of cases of negligence against surgeons going on planned leave or absences immediately after a surgery were also observed. In 2015, the Indian Courts continued with the trend of giving benefit of doubt to doctors by not questioning the correctness of medical records, except in cases of gross fabrications; and further continued to hold that a wrong method or decision by a doctor does not necessarily constitute negligence.

In 2015, the Courts also held that a doctor relying on a wrong investigation report of another qualified radiologist, sonologist or pathologist and acting accordingly is not negligent. It also deplored appeals in trivial cases and penalised appellants. “On the whole, the year was good as well as bad for doctors. The courts are hesitant in holding the healthcare providers negligent and are seeking more clear and convincing evidence from the patients. But once convinced that the doctor or the hospital has been negligent then the penalty that follows is heavy,” revealed Advocate Mahendrakumar Bajpai who was a speaker at the review.