District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission

District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (DCDRC), Gurgaon: While considering the instant matter wherein a mock drill on infant abduction conducted by Cloud Nine Hospital, ended up in an anxiety inducing situation for the complainant’s family and wife who had just given birth to a baby; the Bench of Sanjeev Jindal (President)*, Jyoti Siwach and Khushwinder Kaur (Members), held that while conducting the Code Pink Mock Drill for Infant Abduction, the Hospital’s announcement as to the disappearing of the baby in room 101 in which the complainant’s wife had been admitted for delivery, was sufficient to cause extreme mental harassment, pain and agony to anyone including the complainant and his family members, and, that, such type of announcement was sufficient to fill chill in anyone’s spine and to stop the breaths of the affected parents of the missing infant, which, actually happened in the present case to the complainant and his family members.

Commission held the opposite parties to be guilty of severe deficiency in service as well as adopting an unfair trade practice which caused an extreme type of mental harassment, agony and pain to the complainant and his family members.

Background: In May 2019, the wife of the complainant was admitted for delivery in room No.101 of Cloud Nine Hospital. However, on 09.05.2019 when the family members of the complainant were waiting outside for good news, all of a sudden, at about 5.00 P.M. there was an announcement in the hospital that baby of the mother in Room No. 101 was missing, pursuant to which, high alert coupled with code pink was announced in the hospital which stands for infant abduction.

Upon hearing this announcement, the family members of the complainant were stunned and started enquiring from the doctors about their new born baby but they could not get any information as there was a lot of confusion in the hospital and none of the staff member were aware how to handle this situation, that this high voltage drama continued for 30 minutes with no one to explain to the complainant and his family members even about the fact as to whether their newborn was son or daughter. The complainant was later informed that a baby girl had been born to his wife and the announcement aforesaid was just a mock drill in the hospital.

The complainant’s wife was discharged along with important documents concerning their child’s birth including the information of the baby’s blood group. However, in August 2019, while applying for the baby’s Aadhaar Card ,the complainant came to know that there was a discrepancy in the blood group of the baby, as the discharge summary stated the blood group to be B +ve, whereas, in another blood report given by the Opposite Parties themselves, the blood group stood mentioned as O +ve.

The complainant alleging medical negligence approached the Medical Negligence Board and the Board observed that even though Blood group was a vital information in the discharge summary and any error in that regard shows careless and complacent attitude of the Doctor, but no harm had occurred to the baby due to that error.

Approaching the DCDRC, the complainant highlighted that the afore-stated facts reveal severe deficiency in service on the part of Cloud Nine Hospital and these facts also come within the ambit of unfair trade practice. It was further stated that if any mock drill had to be conducted, then, the hospital could have taken the complainant and his family members into confidence.

Per contra, the opposite parties argued that the mock code pink drill had been done as a part of protocol, and that, such like drills were being conducted to ensure that all the safety norms were met, and they were not meant to harass anybody as alleged by the complainant. At the time of announcement of mock drill aforesaid, the wife and baby of the complainant were not present in room No.101, as the patient along-with her husband i.e. the complainant was present in Operation Theatre. It was further stated by them that error regarding blood group had occurred due to pure oversight as a typographical error in the discharge summary of the baby and the same had not caused any injury to the baby.

Commission’s Assessment: The Commission noted that no medical negligence has occurred vis-à-vis typographical error in mentioning the blood group. However, the Commission opined that this finding may not really help the case of the opposite parties.

The Commission pointed out that it has been admitted by the opposite parties in their respective written statements, that the mock code pink drill in question indeed had been conducted in Cloud Nine Hospital on the day in question. The Commission further pointed out that it was admitted by the opposite parties that there was an announcement stating that baby in room 101 was missing i.e. the room in which the complainant’s wife had been admitted for delivery.

The Commission thus found merit in the contentions raised by the complainant that, if, at all, any such mock drill had to be conducted, the opposite parties could have very easily taken the complainant and his family members into confidence, but, in the instant case, not only that the opposite parties did not take the complainant and his family members into confidence but nobody even knew as to whether the newly born baby was boy or girl as no one had seen the child from the complainant and his family. “Therefore, this type of act and conduct on the part of the opposite parties has to be held not only as severe deficiency in service but also as an extreme type of unfair trade practice”.

It was further pointed out that averments/submissions of the complainant have admittedly gone un-rebutted as the opposite parties have not been able to place on the record even an iota of evidence which may rebut the credibility of the contents of the documents submitted or which may prove anything contrary.

With the afore-stated assessment, the Commission held the opposite parties guilty and directed that the Opposite parties-hospital pay the amount of Rs 2,00,000 as compensation to the complainant for causing extreme type of mental harassment, agony and pain to the complainant and his family members along-with Rs 22,000 as litigation expenses.

[Vishal Yadav v. Cloud Nine Hospital, Consumer Complaint No.395 of 2020, decided on 22-11-2023]

*Order by Sanjeev Jindal, President

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For complainant- Naresh Gambhir, Advocate

For opposite parties 1-7- Vinayak Gupta, Advocate

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