Supreme Court Grants Rs. 10 Lakh Compensation in Case of Medical Negligence

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Supreme Court Grants Rs. 10 Lakh Compensation in Case of Medical Negligence

Recently, the Supreme Court ruled on a case involving medical negligence, where a patient suffered hoarseness in their voice due to errors made during anesthesia administration.

Patient’s Claim

The patient, who has since passed away, sought compensation of Rs. 18,00,000/- for the substandard operation performed at Manipal Hospital, which resulted in the development of hoarseness in their voice.

Initially, the District Forum arbitrarily decided on a compensation amount of ₹5,00,000/- without providing any detailed rationale for this figure.

Supreme Court Decision

However, the Supreme Court intervened and awarded a compensation of Rs. 10 lakhs to the patient, recognizing the severity of the medical negligence and the resulting harm suffered.

This ruling sets a precedent for fair compensation in cases of medical negligence, emphasizing the accountability of healthcare providers and the rights of patients to adequate redress for harm caused by medical errors.

NCDRC Upholds District Forum’s Compensation Decision, Supreme Court Increases Award

NCDRC Decision:

The National Consumer District Redressal Commission (NCDRC) maintained the compensation amount determined by the District Forum.

Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah, noting the District Forum’s oversight in considering all relevant factors, directed the hospital to pay Rs. 10 lakhs in compensation with interest.

The Supreme Court’s decision effectively increased the compensation from the initial Rs. 5 lakhs awarded by the District Forum to Rs. 10 lakhs, acknowledging the need for fair redressal in cases of medical negligence.

 Considering the aforementioned facts and circumstances, it is our opinion that the District Forum should have carefully evaluated all pertinent factors when determining the suitable compensation for the deceased, a matter that was insufficiently addressed in this case.

The appellant patient (now deceased) alleged that the hospital administration’s breach of duty, particularly in assigning a critical task to a trainee anaesthetist, resulted in the paralysis of their left vocal cord due to the incorrect insertion of the Double Lumen Tube during anesthesia administration for the surgery. Subsequently, the patient experienced hoarseness in their voice post-operation.

Additionally, the appellant patient argued that their ailment deprived them of job promotion. They continued working in the same position from 2003 until their demise at the end of 2015 without any promotion.

The respondent Hospital claimed that the District Forum made a mistake in disregarding the evidence provided by the doctors, who stated that there was no issue with administering anesthesia through a double-lumen tube.

The court disagreed with the respondent Hospital’s argument, stating that solely relying on medical literature would not absolve the Hospital from its responsibility to ensure that the Head of the Department, Anaesthesia, should have been the one to insert the Double Lumen Tube. However, the head was unavailable, and the task was delegated to a trainee anaesthetist.

In response, the court mandated an increase in the compensation awarded by the District Forum, raising it from ₹5,00,000/- to ₹10,00,000/-, with an additional simple interest rate of 10% per annum calculated from the date of the claim petition until the complete payment is fulfilled. This adjustment considers any previous disbursements made in favor of the appellant patient. Appeals were consequently allowed in accordance with this ruling.

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