Professional negligence or medical negligence may be defined as want of reasonable degree of care or skill or willful negligence on the part of the medical practitioner. Medical negligence has found its way into the Consumer Protection Act and a ‘patient’ or ‘consumer can sue for negligence under this act for the ‘service’ received.
Professional negligence or medical negligence may be defined as want of reasonable degree of care or skill or willful negligence on the part of the medical practitioner in the treatment of a patient with whom a relationship of professional attendant is established, so as to lead to bodily injury or to loss of life.
Consumerism is now firmly established in the medical practice and the notion that blame may be attributed and compensated has a high priority.
A Consumer is any person who hires or avails of any services for a consideration, and includes any beneficiary of such service other than the person who hires or avails of the service, when such services are availed of with the approval of the first mentioned person.
Service means service of any description which is made available to the potential users, but does not include rendering of any service free of charge or under a contract of personal service.
Deficiency means any fault, imperfection, shortcoming or inadequacy in the quality, nature and manner of performance, which is required to be maintained by or under any law for the time being in force or has been undertaken to be performed by a person in pursuance of a contract or otherwise in relation to any service.
In general, a professional man owes to its client a duty in tort as well as in contract to exercise reasonable care in giving advice or performing services. Medical practitioners from all fields of medicine such as Allopathic, Homeopathy, Naturopathy can be liable under the Consumer Protection Act. Duties which a doctor owes to his patient are clear.
A breach of any of these duties gives a right of action for negligence to the patient.
The practitioner must bring to his task a reasonable degree of skill and knowledge and must exercise a reasonable degree of care. Neither the very highest nor a very low degree of care and competence judge, in the light of the particular circumstances of each case, what the law requires.
WHEN DOES A MEDICAL SERVICE FALL UNDER THE CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT
A medical service falls under the purview the Consumer Protection Act in the following cases
WHEN DOES A MEDICAL SERVICE NOT FALL UNDER THE UNDER THE ACT
A medical service does not fall under the purview of the Consumer Protection Act in the following cases:
REMEDIES AVAILABLE IN CASE OF MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE
A consumer has the option to approach the Consumer Forums to seek speedy redressal of his grievances or file a criminal complaint.
Checklist to File A Case
The patient was initially diagnosed as having Tuberculosis and treatment was given. However, later on the basis of other symptoms, it was found that he had Jaundice. Allegation that the hospital and attending doctors were negligent in their treatment and diagnosis. Complaint was held to be maintainable. (1993 Consumer Claims Journal 198)
NEGLIGECE IN CONDUCTING OPERATION
Doctors concerned did not conduct necessary tests at pre-operative stage and conducted surgery without a neurosurgeon resulting in spinal cord injury. Opposite parties could not explain why removal of benign tumor in chest wall resulted in spinal cord injury. Opposite party institute directed to pay Rs. 14,00,000/-as compensation. (1999 CCJ 1099) National Commission.
Complainant's left hand became disabled during treatment. Damage to ulnar nerve was caused during treatment for amoebic liver abscess. Complaint held to be maintainable. Hospital was directed to pay Rs. 1,25,000/- as compensation. (1999 CCJ 940) Chandigarh.
Death of a patient at the time of operation. Opposite parties had anticipated likely complications that might arise in a major surgery of an obese patient with a rare blood group. Opposite parties directed to pay Rs. 2,55,355/- as compensation. (1999 CCJ 391) National Commission
Foreign body left inside after operation of leg which was removed by another doctor. Opposite parties directed to pay Rs. 20,000/- as compensation. (1999 CCJ 99) National Commission.
Wrong administration of injection caused paralysis of leg of a child and the nurse who administered the injection was not qualified. Opposite parties directed to pay Rs. 1,05,00/- as compensation and treatment expenses.Copyright 2023 – Helpline Law - HLL001