New Delhi, Jun 7: Manipal Hospital Bangalore and its four doctors have been directed by the apex consumer forum to pay Rs 5.1 lakh towards rehabilitation of a minor girl whose right forearm was amputated due to their negligence.
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) observed that due to the medical negligence of the hospital and its doctors - pediatrician Meera Ramakrishnan, vascular surgeon Vasudeva Rao, consultant paediatric Arvind Shenoy and paediatric surgeon Jayanth Iyengar - “the child has to spend the entire life without her right forearm”. “... doctors of the hospital have not able to explain how the gangrene of right hand occurred.
Therefore, in the instant case medical negligence is clearly established and for which opposite parties (hospital and the doctors) are liable. “Opposite party 1 (Manipal hospital) being employer is vicariously liable for negligence committed by the doctors and the nursing staff working in the hospital. ... the child has to spend the entire life without her right forearm,” a bench presided by Justice Ashok Bhan said.
The bench directed the hospital and doctors to jointly pay Rs 5,00,000 to parents of the child “for rehabilitation of baby Sandria by providing artificial limb and proper education and care” and also ordered Manipal hospital to pay Rs 10,000 as cost.
The order came on the appeals filed by the parents of the child, Alfred Benedict and Rani Benedict, and the hospital and doctors, both sides challenging the order of the state commission which had directed the hospital and doctors to pay Rs 5.1 lakh as compensation to the minor girl's parents. The parents in their complaint before the Karnataka state commission had submitted that in August 2002 they had taken their then two-year-old daughter, who was suffering from cold and cough, to Dr Shenoy who had advised them to admit the child in Manipal Hospital Bangalore.
Thereafter, she was diagnosed as suffering from pneumonia and was given intravenous fluids by inserting a needle into her right arm, they said.
The parents had alleged that due to the doctors' negligence in inserting the needle into the child's arm, blood supply was blocked due to which gangrene developed and resulted in the amputation of the right forearm.
While the parents had sought enhancement of compensation from the NCDRC, Manipal Hospital and the doctors contended they had not been negligent in their treatment of the child and the unfortunate complication occurred as the patient who was suffering from pneumonia had gone into septic shock. The NCDRC, however, rejected the hospital's contention, saying “it appears they (doctors) have not followed the standards of medical practice” while treating the patient.