For­tis doc­tors fined Rs 23.5 lakh af­ter pa­tient dies

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The Kar­nataka Con­sumer Dis­putes Re­dres­sal Com­mis­sion in Ben­galuru has asked three doc­tors of For­tis Hospi­tal to pay a com­pen­sa­tion amount­ing to Rs 23.5 lakh to the fam­ily of a woman who died al­legedly due to med­i­cal neg­li­gence.

Ac­cord­ing to the fam­ily, the hospi­tal had con­ducted a heart surgery on Vidya Prasad in 2010 de­spite lack­ing a spe­cialised car­diac care unit, caus­ing her death. Mrs Prasad, 45, was op­er­ated on for a slip disc on 11 Fe­bru­ary 2010, at the For­tis Hospi­tal in She­shadripu­ram.

Her hus­band HNS Prasad says the doc­tor claimed she was do­ing fine af­ter the op­er­a­tion. But hours later, he was told that her condition was de­te­ri­o­rat­ing. She died be­fore she could be shifted to a dif­fer­ent hospi­tal.

The next year, the fam­ily ap­proached the con­sumer court al­leg­ing neg­li­gence, af­ter they came to know the hospi­tal lacked a spe­cialised car­diac unit. The fam­ily claimed that the pre-op­er­a­tion tests clearly men­tioned a car­diac risk, but they were not told. When she de­vel­oped car­diac com­pli­ca­tions, the hospi­tal did not even have a pace­maker to in­stall.

The bench com­pris­ing com­mis­sion chair­man Jus­tice BS In­drakala and ju­di­cial mem­bers BS Tada­hal and GT Vi­jay­alak­shmi asked the hospi­tal to pay the sum of Rs 23.5 lakh within eight weeks, along with 9 per cent in­ter­est from the date of fil­ing of the com­plaint. A lit­i­ga­tion cost of Rs 5,000 also has to be paid to the com­plainant.

Con­sumer court pulls up ESIC hos­pi­tals for lack of fa­cil­i­ties

The Na­tional Con­sumer Dis­putes Re­dres­sal Com­mis­sion has pulled up the Em­ploy­ees State In­sur­ance (ESI) Cor­po­ra­tion and its hos­pi­tals, say­ing it was “be­yond imag­i­na­tion” that this na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion does not have proper fa­cil­i­ties to treat the mil­lions of peo­ple who go there for treat­ment.

The apex com­mis­sion, headed by pre­sid­ing mem­ber BC Gupta, also al­lowed a re­vi­sion pe­ti­tion filed by one A Nageswara Rao, whose wife died in 2007 af­ter be­ing hospitalised in Vijayawada, and directed the ESI Cor­po­ra­tion to pay Rs 2 lakh as com­pen­sa­tion and Rs 5,000 as lit­i­ga­tion cost to him for their “clear-cut de­fi­ciency”. The NCDRC thereby set aside the Andhra Pradesh state com­mis­sion or­der and said that the ESI hos­pi­tals were bound to en­sure that their pa­tients did not suf­fer.

Ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint filed in the district con­sumer fo­rum, Rao, a re­tired em­ployee and mem­ber of the ESIC scheme, had taken his wife to a ESIC hospi­tal on 17 Jan­uary 2007 as she was suf­fer­ing from hy­per­ten­sion and heart ail­ment. She was re­ferred to the Govern­ment Med­i­cal Col­lege hospi­tal in Vijayawada and from there she was dis­charged a day af­ter. Six days later, she was taken to the same hospi­tal and ad­mit­ted to the gen­eral ward, where she died on 4 Fe­bru­ary 2007. It was al­leged in the com­plaint that the hospi­tal, which lacked ba­sic mon­i­tor­ing fa­cil­i­ties, had even failed to re­fer her to a su­per-spe­cial­ity hospi­tal.

The hospi­tal con­tended be­fore the district fo­rum that it could not re­fer a pa­tient for su­per-spe­cial­ity treat­ment with­out an el­i­gi­bil­ity let­ter is­sued by the ESI Cor­po­ra­tion. The NCDRC held that the hospi­tal’s ver­sion made it clear that it should have re­ferred the pa­tient to a su­per-spe­cial­ity hospi­tal but kept her in their gen­eral ward, where they did not even have a car­di­ol­ogy depart­ment. “There is, there­fore, clear-cut de­fi­ciency on the part of the OPs (ESI hospi­tal and ESIC) in the present case, when they had proper di­ag­no­sis done from the govern­ment hospi­tal, Vijayawada, and still they de­cided to keep the pa­tient ad­mit­ted in their own hospi­tal,” the na­tional com­mis­sion ob­served.

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