Medical Negligence not proved on the sole ground of an unsuccessful sterilization operation

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Valmiki Mehta, J., allowed an appeal filed against the judgment of the trial court whereby the appellant Hospital was held liable for medical negligence.

Brief facts of the case are that the respondent-plaintiff underwent a sterilization operation in Lok Nayak Hospital. However, the said operation was not successful and the respondent conceived again which resulted in the birth of her seventh child. The respondent sued the appellant for not having taken reasonable care while operating her. The trial court, finding the appellant guilty of medical negligence, decreed the respondent’s recovery suit for a sum of Rs 2,20,000. Aggrieved thus, the present appeal was filed.

The High Court did not find the judgment impugned to be sustainable. It was observed that medically there is never a 100% chance of success in sterilization operations. The fact that the operation was not successful, that by itself could not be a reason to hold the appellant and its doctors guilty of negligence. There were no specific allegations against the doctors for committing negligence while conducting the operation; and in absence of the same, the appellant could not be held liable in fact or in law. Moreover, the respondent, before the operation, had signed the forms that clearly stated that the sterilization process is not always successful and there are some chances of failure, and if the operation is unsuccessful, the appellant or the doctor concerned will not be liable. In light of the discussion as mentioned herein, the Court allowed the appeal and set aside the judgment impugned. [Lok Nayak Hospital v. Prema,2018 SCC OnLine Del 10334, dated 06-08-2018]

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