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National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): Dr S.M. Kantikar (Presiding Member) decided a matter wherein a question of whether wheelchair injuries would fall under the ambit of medical negligence or not.

In the present matter, complainant – patient came to Petitioner/OP-Hospital for follow-up check-up after her spinal surgery. It was alleged that she was very rashly and negligently wheeled from the hospital corridor, on the ramp by an unidentified security guard without putting seat belt, as a result of which she suffered ‘head-on fall’ from the wheelchair and sustained a fracture.

Further, the complainant alleged that she was not given immediate first aid and was made to stand in the queue for payment of X-Ray charges resulting to further pain and agony.

Hospital authorities were made aware of the said incident but they willfully ignored the same. Complainant submitted that it was gross negligence & deficiency in service from the supportive staff at the hospital. Being aggrieved by the negligent care and conduct of the Opposite Party, she filed the Consumer Complaint.

District forum had directed petitioner hospital to pay Rs 1,00,000 as compensation and Rs 10,000 towards the cost of legal proceedings.

State Commission dismissed the petitioner’s appeal with Rs 25,000 costs and further directing the hospital to pay Rs 3,51,000 compensation to the complainant.

Being aggrieved with the above orders, petitioner hospital approached this Commission.

In Commission’s view, the State Commission had passed a well-appraised reasoned order.

Coram opined that the present matter, prima facie does not fall strictly in medical negligence. Further elaborating more, Commission expressed that,

Wheelchairs are usually thought of a medical device that is meant to help those who are injured or have physical challenges; they can also be a source of injury when not properly used. Most wheelchair injuries that happen in a medical setting due to the negligence of medical staff and such could be easily prevented by a hospital or nursing home.

Further, Bench added that hospital authorities should make systemic improvements in their administration and their grievance redressal mechanism to ensure the patient’s safety and to maintain a good Doctor-Patient relationship.

In view of the above discussion, Commission held that nothing warrants interference with the impugned order of the State Commission in the exercise of the revisional jurisdiction of this Commission.[P.D. Hinduja National Hospital & Medical Research Centre v. Harsh Ashok Lal, Revision Petition no. 67 of 2020, decided on 8-07-2021]


Advocates before the Commission:

For the Petitioner: Mr. Shekhar B. Prabhavalkar, Advocate

For the Respondent: In-person

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): A Division Bench of Dr S.M. Kantikar (Presiding Member) and Dinesh Singh (Member), while addressing the issue of medical negligence by the doctors of Christian Medical College, Vellore awarded compensation to the deceased’ wife.

Deceased got admitted to as a private patient at Christian Medical College, Vellore — OP and on being examined it was found to be a case of Coronary Artery Disease.

The treating doctor advised the deceased to undergo Coronary Angiogram test when the same was conducted, the doctor expressed that it would be better if the patient undergoes Coronary Arterial By-pass Graft (CABG) surgery instead of angioplasty to avoid multiple stenting.

After a couple of days, Dr Sujit discontinued medicines Ecospirin and Clopidogrel and started Heparin 5000 units 6 hourly.

Heparin was started without any laboratory investigations and monitoring protocol.

Complainant had notice bleeding at the site of insertion of the needle but the said complaint was ignored by the doctors.

On the 3rd does of Heparin being given to the patient, it was noted that he suffered from a mini-stroke after that.

An immediate CT Scan was to be done but no stroke evaluation was suggested by the doctor. Later the deceased was transferred to the Thoracic surgery unit in Semi-ICU. Neurologist suggested a CT-Brain Plain study but the same was delayed.

The neurologist after conducting the above-stated scan informed the complainant that as the patient already progressed into coma, nothing more could be done. Finally, doctors suggested the family that they should accept the inevitable event and instead of wasting money allow them to withdraw ventilator support.

Later, the complainant took the opinion of several other doctors who said that the delay caused for stroke management was fatal and it was due to lapses in the hospital.

Patients once again suffered a stroke and died on nothing being done by the doctors.

In view of the above-stated, present consumer complaint was filed for medical negligence and callousness of the doctors at CMC causing the death of the patient.

Commission on perusal of the facts and submissions of the case stated that, the high-risk patients living in the hospital/nursing homes or undergoing cardiac procedures should have monitoring systems to help alert the doctor/staff immediately.

Adding to its analysis, the bench also stated that pre-hospital triage and communication between radiologists, neurologists and emergency physicians are more vital.

Delay in diagnosis and management of stroke was a deficiency and not a reasonable or standard of practice.

Another significant setback that was noted was that there was an urgent need for a brain CT scan of the patient but it was delayed for more than 3 hours for the want of a fresh receipt of Rs 1850 towards CT scan charges even though complainants had already deposited 150000 in advance. 

For the above instance, the bench stated,

Hospital has every right to insist the payment but it was also a prime duty to care the emergency patient.

In view of the above, deficiency/negligence was conclusively established and hence ac compensation of Rs 25 lakhs with an interest of 8% p.a was awarded. [Yashumati Devi v. Christian Medical College, 2020 SCC OnLine NCDRC 211, decided on 11-08-2020]


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Armed Forces Tribunal: The Bench of S.V.S. Rathore, J. and Air Marshal BBP Sinha (Member) allowed the application filed by a member of Indian Army’s Electronics and Mechanical Engineers Corps, directing grant of disability pension to him.

Applicant herein was enrolled in the Indian Army and discharged from service in ‘low medical category’. The Release Medical Board (RMB) located at Base Hospital, Lucknow assessed his disabilities as: (i) ‘Obesity’ at nil percentage which was ‘Neither Attributable to Nor Aggravated’ (NANA) by military service; and (ii) ‘Primary Hypertension’ at 30 per cent for two years which was found to be aggravated due to stress and strain of military service. 

The applicant filed an application for a disability pension with the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (Pensions), Allahabad – PCDA (P) – but the same was rejected without carrying out his physical examination, by declaring his disease of hypertension as NANA. Aggrieved thereby, the instant application was preferred under Section 14 of the Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007.

The Court relied on the judgment in Ex. Sapper Mohinder Singh v. Union of India, Order dated 14-01-1993 in Civil Appeal No. 104 of 1993, where it was held that medical board’s decision cannot be overruled by a higher chain of command without physical medical examination of the patient. In view thereof, the decision of PCDA (P), Allahabad declaring the second disability of hypertension as NANA was set aside, and it was held that the applicant was entitled to a disability pension at 30 per cent for two years.[Hav Raj Bhan Singh v. Union of India, Original Application No. 700 of 2017, Order dated 18-02-2019]