Consumer forum orders hospital, doctors to pay Rs 50 lakh solatium

Consumer forum orders hospital, doctors to pay Rs 50 lakh solatium

Oct 09,2023

T'puram: Kerala state consumer disputes redressal commission has slapped a fine of Rs 50 lakh as compensation on a Pathanamthitta-based hospital and two doctors for gross medical negligence. The commission passed the order on a complaint that the hospital and doctors failed to conduct proper tests on a pregnant woman, resulting in the birth of a baby without lower limbs and hip.


The complaint filed under relevant provisions in Consumer Protection Act submitted before the commission that Lukes Hospital, Pathanamthitta, and two doctors (Dr Kenny A Thomas and Dr Preetha Biju) attached to it indulged in gross medical negligence as they gave the couple (Jayesh and wife Resmi Das) the impression that the baby in the womb was healthy.


Ultrasound scan was done several times especially after four months of pregnancy and the real condition of the baby was known only after the caesarean on January 10, 2015. The complainants said the anomaly scan, which ought to have been done during the fourth/fifth months, was not done properly. Their argument that if a proper anomaly scan was done as stipulated, any abnormality including congenital diseases to the foetus, could have been detected and if the scanning at the fourth month was properly carried out, the complainants could have taken precautionary steps was accepted by the commission.


The opposite parties denied the charges and claimed that the scanning were carried out without fail by competent professionals and the non-detection of the abnormality was not due to the professional negligence. "Ultra sound creates a two dimensional image of a three dimensional baby and in prenatal testing, ultrasound results cannot be relied upon as 100 per cent accurate and all congenital anomalies cannot be detected," they said.


Head of the department of radio diagnosis at a government medical college hospital examined before the commission, however, said if the foetus has no limbs it could be seen in this scan. In the anomaly scan the doctor has to report if the fact as to whether the foetus bears 12 bones or not and also to report if the foetus has got any defects to the heart which is intended to enable the parents to decide as to whether the pregnancy could be continued or terminated, he said.


"Medical science has advanced much and the parents are now having the chance to prevent the birth of babies with inherent health issues. The act of the opposite parties in making the complainants believe that the baby to be born to them is healthy amounts to deficiency of service. So, we have no hesitation to come to a conclusion that the opposite parties were negligent in rendering treatment to the second complainant which made the life of the complainants a misery. The opposite parties are jointly and severally liable to compensate the complainants and their unfortunate child by paying the compensation as deficiency of service is proved," the order said.


Source: HealthWorld