Negligent doctor asked to pay Rs 10 lakh over death of child

25 September, 2016

The Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission at Thane has ordered a child specialist from Mulund to pay Rs 10 lakh to the parents of a two-and-a-half-year-old child who was suffering from pneumonia and died due to medical negligence on his part in March 2003. The commission chided the doctor for not availing the best treatment elsewhere for the child patient when her condition worsened at his hospital, leaving her to her fate.

The commission asked the doctor to pay the amount along with interest since the date of death of the child.

The final hearing of the case was held on September 19 by Justice A.P. Bhangale and member Narendra Kawde. The complainant and deceased child’s mother, Uma Bhat, said that on March 25, 2003, she admitted her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter to Dr Iyer’s Maternity and Paediatric Nursing on the family physician’s recommendations after the child suddenly developed rashes on her body and had high fever from the previous day.

The commission observed that despite Dr Iyer’s hospital undergoing renovation, causing dust and allergens, he decided to treat the patient in his hospital that led to worsening of the child’s condition. As her condition kept deteriorating till March 29, the Bhats decided to get her discharged “against medical advice” and got her admitted to Nanavati Hospital where she passed away on March 30. 

Ms Bhat lodged a complaint against Dr Iyer on April 11 and a case of medical negligence was also registered later in the year.

The police sent queries to the Directorate of Health Services which constituted a committee to investigate the allegations.

Upon investigation, the commission observed, “In our view, once Dr Iyer had accepted the child patient on March 25, 2003, for medical treatment, it was his duty to ensure that the best of medical treatment was accorded to the child at his own hospital or elsewhere if he so deemed fit, particularly when the prior written consent from the natural guardian of the patient was already obtained in the patient’s admission papers.” The commission deemed that Dr Iyer and the hospital were liable to pay compensation of Rs 10 lakh with interest from the date of complaint till realisation and an additional Rs 25,000 towards litigation costs within three months of the order.