Can Sympathize With You but Can’t Provide Legal Remedies: Consumer Forum in Medical Negligence Case

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The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission denied a claim of Rs. 3 crore made by the father of a doctor who died in 2009 after being administered anesthesia before knee surgery, saying that even though the court sympathizes with the complainant, it cannot be translated into a legal remedy.

Dismissing the Medical Negligence claim by the complainant against six doctors, the Commission’s presiding member, Dr. SM Kantikar said,

“There is not much one can do to prevent a disgruntled complainant/patient from approaching a court or redressal forum. I do agree with the agony of the complainant, but then, that by itself cannot be a cause for awarding damages of the passing away of his son.”

Facts of the Case

In the present case, the complaint was filed by the father of Dr. Sunil Yadav, an Orthopedic Surgeon and professor at Bharati Vidyapeeth University Medical College, Sangli.

The doctor died of cardiac arrest after being administered spinal anesthesia for a knee operation which was supposed to be conducted as a part of a live workshop. The 76-year-old filed a complaint and blamed several factors, among these: pre-anesthesia fitness was not checked, the hospital had not checked if the anesthetist was recognized and registered and that the operation theatre was ill-equipped.

The anesthetist, a friend of Dr. Yadav, had died by suicide two days after his death.

The doctors contest the complaint filed against them in the court and said that death was an unexpected unfortunate incident and not due to negligence.

Decision by the Commission

It was concluded by the commission that necessary steps were taken by the doctors before the administration of anesthesia and proper pre-operative investigations were done, where the reports were within normal limits and fitness for the operation was obtained.

“The doctors present in the operation theatre were competent and had performed necessary cardiac resuscitation as per standard protocol,” the member of the Commission said.

The commission called the death ‘an unfortunate and unexpected’ incident even before the surgeons put a knife for surgery and said that ‘causation’ of medical negligence is not visible.

The commission also noted that sadly the anesthetist who administered anesthesia to the patient died by suicide shortly.


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