MUMBAI: A paediatrician will now have to pay compensation of Rs 11 lakh for negligence to the mother of a two-and-a-half-year-old who died of pneumonia, after he did not perform an emergency procedure on the "flimsy excuse" that the child's father, an astrologer, had refused to consent as the planetary influence was bad.
The state consumer commission said it was for the doctor, under whose care the child was in the days preceding her death in March 2003, to ensure the best medical treatment was given to her. "What was the standard medical protocol of medical treatment in medical text books in such a case was a fact within special knowledge of Dr Ramesh Iyer and he ought to have followed and established it by acceptable evidence of doctors and nurses who took care of the patient, without pleading flimsy and unacceptable excuses to exonerate himself," the commission said on Monday.
The Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission
said the casual approach in treating the child resulted in negligence which led to deficiency in service by Iyer and his nursing home. "Dr Ramesh Iyer ventured to treat Baby Shaivi Bhat, a pneumonia patient, at his own hospital, despite dust and allergens present there due to renovation work in progress in the hospital as admitted. Dr Iyer is answerable to the mother and close relatives of the patient for causing her serious medical condition to develop which led to her untimely death and he must therefore compensate for the loss to the complainant," the commission observed.
Mulund-based Uma Bhat, the child's mother, had filed the complaint before the commission in 2003. The child, the complaint said, died on March 30, 2003, due to cardio-respiratory failure. Born on October 6, 2000, she was the only child of her parents. The mother said the child had not suffered from any serious ailment in the past and was healthy. She further stated that Iyer was recommended by a family physician after Shaivi suddenly developed rashes all over her body. On March 25, 2003, after developing a persistent high fever, the physician suggested that she should be admitted to Iyer's hospital. However, the condition of the child worsened over time finally forcing the parents to admit her in a serious condition to a city-based private hospital where she died.
The complaint further said that a committee of government doctors, set up after the parents filed a complaint with the cops against the doctor, found that besides casual notes as to rise and fall in temperatures of patient, deficiencies and lacunas were observed in the medical treatment. The mother also alleged that on March 29, 2003, another doctor who examined the child, had noted pneumonities and air in the lungs. The mother further said the specialist had even advised a procedure in which fluid was to be drained from the lungs. However, this was not followed and no written idea was given to the child's family about it.
Accepting the "sound observations" made by the committee, the forum said Iyer was to blame for professional medical negligence.