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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

How is should a doctor explain to a patient Consumer panel orders hospital to pay ₹5 lakh for medical negligence Commission says ‘informed consent’ to proposed treatment mandatory The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in Delhi has directed Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals to pay ₹5 lakh as compensation to a petitioner for alleged medical negligence. Directing the hospital and the treating doctor to jointly pay the sum, the commission held that “informed consent [to proposed treatment] is mandatory”, which the hospital failed to do. The petitioner, challenging a district forum order that held the hospital guilty of “deficiency in services and not medical negligence”, had sought compensation of ₹50 lakh. The petitioner said that his 23-year-old daughter was admitted to the hospital in 2004 after a severe bout of diarrhoea but was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, where healthy tissues are mistakenly attacked by the immune system, four days later. In the complaint against the hospital, the petitioner alleged that his daughter died after the hospital carried out a blood transfusion despite the “patient being in good condition”. ‘Overdose of steroids’ “The complainant levelled allegations that transfusion of blood to the patient resulted in an overdose of steroids. The complainant further submitted that the patient was absolutely fit when he requested the doctors to discharge her. Contention of the complainant is that further transfusion of blood led to unconsciousness from which the patient never recovered,” read the allegations as noted by the State commission. Complicated case Contending allegations that the hospital had tried to “grab money”, the respondents, including the doctor who treated the patient, argued that “it was a complicated disease and could not have an on-spot diagnosis without referring to a stringent battery of tests. There was no contradiction to blood transfusion. Her condition warranted life-saving measures and steroids needed to be given”. Referring to the report submitted by an expert committee, which spoke of a “communication gap between the hospital and the petitioner”, the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission held: “No record shows whether the patient or her attendants were disclosed information related to diagnosis of the disease, nature of proposed treatment, potential risk of the treatment and consequences of the patient refusing the suggested line of treatment. All these things are fundamental requirement of law.”


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