The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has dismissed the revision petition of a doctor, who was directed to pay Rs 3 lakh to the complainant after being held negligent by a district forum.
Presiding Member S M Kantikar was hearing the appeal of a doctor of Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh.
“Considering the evidence on record and the entirety of the facts in my view, there was a failure of duty of care from the opposite party 1 (the doctor). She did not attend to the patient immediately when she was in severe labour pain…the patient was left in the hands of (her) assistants who were neither qualified nor trained and the caesarian operation was performed hurriedly at delayed stage which was the cause of foetal death,” the presiding member said.
“The revision petition, being misconceived and devoid of merit, is dismissed,” he added.
According to the complainant, she was admitted to the doctor’s nursing home and her condition deteriorated during delivery, but the doctor did not respond and instead told her assistants not to disturb her.
The complainant claimed that her condition continued to deteriorate, following which the doctor “eventually” came to the labour room, and thus because of delay and negligence on the part of the doctor and her assistants, the child born was dead and there was the injury to her uterus during the cesarian operation.
Countering the allegations and denying any negligence, the doctor said she had performed a caesarian operation only after the complainant’s written consent and there was no damage to the patient’s uterus.
After discharge from the nursing home, the patient did not come for follow-up and the complaint was filed with a “bad intention to defame the doctor and nursing home”, she said.
In its order, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Lakhimpur held the doctor negligent and directed her to pay a compensation of Rs 3 lakh, along with Rs 15,000 as litigation cost.
Against the district consumer forum order, the doctor filed the first appeal before the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in Lucknow, which dismissed the petition, saying she had committed deficiency in service and there was no scope for any intervention.
The doctor then moved the NCDRC, where her advocate argued that the complainant had failed to produce any evidence of negligence and that the state commission did not rely upon the medical literature filed by the doctor about the risks of ureteral injury during obstetric and gynaecological operations.
The advocate further argued that an unfortunate incident or death did not necessarily amount to negligence and the award of compensation was excessive.
However, the advocate for the complainant argued that the doctor was negligent and performed the operation hastily and negligently, thus resulting in the loss of her child and causing damage to the urinary tract.
He further argued that the doctor’s negligence was the sole cause of the complainant’s suffering and that if the doctor had fulfilled her duties properly, the complainant would have been able to have a child and live a happy life without the need for costly medical treatment.