This Article is From Apr 23, 2013

Hospital to pay Rs 4.1 lakh for woman's death due to negligence

New Delhi: Nearly 15 years after a woman died due to medical negligence during child birth, the apex consumer commission has held Delhi-based Parmarth Mission Hospital guilty and directed it to pay a compensation of Rs 4.1 lakh to her husband.

In 2007, Delhi State Consumer Commission had awarded Rs 50,000 as compensation to the deceased woman's husband.

However, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission enhanced the compensation to Rs four lakh saying it was not in agreement with the decision of state commission, which had said that though medical negligence was established, the same was not the cause of death of the 27-year-old woman.

"State Commission had while concluding medical negligence awarded a compensation of Rs 50,000 on the ground that though medical negligence had been established, it was not the direct cause of the patient's death... in view of the opinion of medical experts, we are not in agreement with this part of the order of State Commission.

"Under the circumstances, there is adequate justification for enhanced compensation... a young woman of 27 years had died leaving behind two minor children as also her husband, thus, depriving them of the care and company of a mother and spouse, which is admittedly an invaluable loss for them...

"... we are of the view that an enhanced compensation of Rs four lakh would be reasonable and justified in the instant case," a bench presided by Justice Ashok Bhan said and also awarded Rs 10,000 as litigation cost.

The judgment came while disposing of appeals filed by the hospital and deceased woman's husband, Yudh Vir Singh Chauhan, challenging the state commission's order.

While the hospital had contended in its appeal that the woman had died as a result of a surgery performed in Bara Hindu Rao Hospital, Chauhan had argued that Parmarth Mission Hospital's negligence in leaving behind foreign objects inside his wife's body was the cause of her death.

Mr Chauhan, in his complaint before the state commission, had said that his wife was admitted to Parmarth Mission Hospital in 1998 for delivery of their third child and she had delivered a baby through caesarean section.

However, the child died a few days later in another hospital as Parmarth Mission did not have necessary facilities to take care of the new-born, Mr Chauhan had said.

He had alleged that the doctors who performed the surgery had left a sponge and a tag inside his wife's body due to which she suffered severe pains in the abdomen and despite several tests conducted on instructions of the hospital, it could not find out the cause of her ailment.

Later, she was admitted to Bara Hindu Rao Hospital where after a surgery, a sponge and a tag were removed from inside his wife, but she died a few days after that, he had said.

During the proceedings in the state commission, a medical board was set up which had concluded that the woman had died as a result of the foreign objects left inside her for several months.