CASES ON MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE IN INDIA (2016-2019)
Author: Ms. Teresa Dhar, CNLU, Patna
1. Name of the case – Kusum Sharma & Ors vs Batra Hospital & Med.Research
Year of the case – 10th February, 2010
Principle – To prosecute a medical professional for negligence under criminal law it must be shown that the accused did something or failed to do something which in the given facts and circumstances no medical professional in his ordinary senses and prudence would have done or failed to do. The hazard taken by the accused doctor should be of such a nature that the injury which resulted was most likely imminent.
2. Name of the case – Moni vs State Of Kerala
Year of the case – 4th February, 2011
Principle – The test for the medical practitioners is the standard of the ordinary skilled man exercising and professing to have that special skill. A man need not possess the highest expert skill; it is well-established law that it is sufficient if he exercises the ordinary skill of an ordinary competent man exercising that particular art. In the case of a medical man, negligence means failure to act in accordance with the standards of reasonably competent medical men at the time. There may be one or more perfectly proper standards, and if he conforms to one of these proper standards, then he is not negligent.
3. Name of the case – Tamil Nadu Siddha Medical vs Indian Medical Association
Year of the case – 11th February, 2011
Principle – In many cases, the complaints of medical negligence before the Consumer forum or criminal courts have been found fault with. In matters of criminal negligence, the Supreme Court has now held that such conduct must first be enquired into by experts in the field and then only the criminal court can deal with such matters. A medical practitioner faced with an emergency ordinarily tries his best to redeem the patient out of his suffering. He does not gain anything by acting with negligence or by omitting to do an act. Obviously, therefore, it will be for the complainant to clearly make out a case of negligence before a medical practitioner is charged with or proceeded against criminally. A surgeon with shaky hands under fear of legal action cannot perform a successful operation and a quivering physician cannot administer the end-dose of medicine to his patient.
4. Name of the case – Dr. Kunal Saha vs Dr. Sukumar Mukherjee
Year of the case – 21st October, 2011
Principle – Multiplier method provided under the Motor Vehicles Act for calculating the compensation is the only proper and scientific method for determination of compensation even in the cases where death of the patient has been occasioned due to medical negligence/deficiency in service in the treatment of the patient, as there is no difference in legal theory between a patient dying through medical negligence and the victim dying in industrial or motor accident. The award of lump-sum compensation in cases of medical negligence has a great element of arbitrariness and subjectivity.
5. Name of the case – Smt V.Madhavi W/O Venkataramana vs Dr.K.Thirupal Reddy & Ors
Year of the case – 21st December, 2012
Principle – A conspectus of the ratio in precedents would show that medical negligence on the part of treating doctor or hospital has to be determined on the touchstone of the principle laid in Bolam’s case. The guidelines provided for determination of medical negligence of a doctor or hospital indicates that in cases of gross medical negligence the principle of res ipsa loquitor can be applied and that a doctor or hospital can be found negligent in case of failure to exercise due care and reasonable skill if it does fell below that of the standards of a reasonably competent practitioner. The acts or omissions of the doctor or the hospital whether constitutes negligence depend upon the current state of knowledge of the doctor in medical science at which he treated the patient. The question of medical negligence is a mixed question of fact and law.
6. Name of the case – M/S.Vetri Medical Agency vs State Rep. By Inspector Of Police
Year of the case – 3rd December, 2013
Principle – While ensuring and protecting the rights of the accused and the complainant, a preliminary inquiry should be made time-bound and in any case, it should not exceed 7 days. The fact of such delay and the causes of it must be reflected in the General Diary entry. Illustration of Medical negligence cases is not exhaustive of all conditions which may warrant preliminary inquiry.
7. Name of the case – Suresh vs The State Of Tamil Nadu
Year of the case – 20th August 2014
Principle – Whenever a complaint is received against a doctor or hospital by the Consumer Fora (whether District, State or National) or by the criminal court than before issuing notice to the doctor or hospital against whom the complaint was made the Consumer Forum or the criminal court should first refer the matter to a competent doctor or committee of doctors, specialized in the field relating to which the medical negligence is attributed, and only after that doctor or committee reports that there is a prima facie case of medical negligence should notice be then issued to the doctor/hospital concerned. This is necessary to avoid harassment to doctors who may not be ultimately found to be negligent and police officials are not to arrest or harass doctors unless the facts clearly come within the parameters laid down in Jacob Mathew case, otherwise, the policemen will themselves have to face legal action.
8. Name of the case – Dr. Sunita Verma vs Smt. Sangita Dubey & Ors.
Year of the case – 8th April, 2015
Principle – While deciding whether the medical professional is guilty of medical negligence following well-known principles must be kept in view: Negligence is the breach of a duty exercised by omission to do something which a reasonable man, guided by those considerations which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs, would do, or doing something which a prudent and reasonable man would not do.
9. Name of the case – Dr. (Mrs.) Indu Sharma vs Indraprastha Apollo Hospital
Year of the case – 22nd April, 2015
Principle – The corporate hospitals and Specialists, as might be expected, must perform at a higher level than other hospitals/ general practitioners. They, after all, represent themselves as possessing highest standard facilities and care; they also possess superior skills and additional training. The hospital charges and the doctor’s fees normally reflect this. No doubt that the compensation in medical negligence cases has to be just and adequate, that the medical professionals need to be accountable to a certain degree.
Year of the case – 5th May, 2016
Principle – Impugned FIR instituted by the police is in complete disregard to the directions given by the Supreme Court in Jacob Mathew’s case as also in Lalita Kumari’s case, as the same was instituted straightway by the police on receipt of information regarding a cognizable offence under Section 304 of the Code without holding any preliminary inquiry and obtaining an independent and competent medical opinion from a doctor in that branch of medical practice.
11. Name of the case – Fortis Escort Hospital vs Amarjeet Singh
Year of the case – 22nd September, 2017
Principle – Before forming an opinion that expert evidence is necessary, the Fora must come to a conclusion that the case is complicated enough to require the opinion of an expert or that the facts of the case are such that it cannot be resolved by the Members of the Fora without the assistance of expert opinion. No mechanical approach can be followed by these Fora. Each case has to be judged on its own facts. If a decision is taken that in all cases medical negligence has to be proved on the basis of expert evidence, in that event the efficacy of the remedy provided under this Act will be unnecessarily burdened and in many cases, such remedy would be illusory.
12. Name of the case – Sagolsem Naran Singh vs Director, Rims And 3 Others
Year of the case – 9 April, 2018
Principle – In a case involving medical negligence, once the initial burden has been discharged by the complainant by making out a case of negligence on the part of the hospital or the doctor concerned, the onus then shifts on to the hospital or to the attending doctors and it is for the hospital to satisfy the court that there was no lack of care or diligence.
13. Name of the case – C Rl. O. P.(Md) N O. 1 3 6 8 1 O F 2 0 1 8 vs The Superintendent Of Police
Year of the case – 5th July, 2018
Principle – Though Section 154 of the CrPC postulates the mandatory registration of FIRs on receipt of all cognizable offences, yet, there may be instances where preliminary inquiry may be required owing to the change in genesis and novelty of crimes with the passage of time. One such instance is in the case of allegations relating to medical negligence on the part of doctors. It will be unfair and inequitable to prosecute a medical professional only on the basis of the allegations in the complaint.
14. Name of the case – Dr. A.K. Gupta And Others vs State Of U.P. And Others
Year of the case – 12th October, 2018
Principle – Whenever a complaint is received against a doctor or hospital by the Consumer Fora (whether District, State or National) or by the Criminal Court then before issuing notice to the doctor or hospital against whom the complaint was made the Consumer Forum or Criminal Court should first refer the matter to a competent doctor or committee of doctors, specialized in the field relating to which the medical negligence is attributed, and only after that doctor or committee reports that there is a prima facie case of medical negligence should notice be then issued to the concerned doctor/hospital. This is necessary to avoid harassment to doctors who may not be ultimately found to be negligent.
15. Name of the case – Miss. Sunanda G. Barve vs Dr. Jayant S. Barve
Year of the case – 21st December, 2018
Principle – The complainant if fails to prove the medical negligence and deficiency in service, is not entitled to get the compensation. Where a complaint instituted before the District Forum, the State Commission or, as the case may be, the National Commission is found to be frivolous or vexatious, it shall, for reasons to be recorded in writing, dismiss the complaint.
16. Name of the case – Vinod Jain vs Santokba Durlabhji Memorial Hospital & Anr.
Year of the case – 25th February, 2019
Principle – Any individual approaching such a skilled person would have a reasonable expectation of a degree of care and caution, however, there could be no assurance of the result. A physician thus would not assure a full recovery in every case, and the only assurance given by implication is that he possesses the requisite skills in the branch of the profession and while undertaking the performance of his task, he would exercise his skills with reasonable competence. Thus, a liability would only come, if: (a) either the person (doctor) did not possess the requisite skills, which he professed to have possessed; or (b) he did not exercise, with reasonable competence in a given case, the skill which he did possess. It was held not to be necessary for every professional to possess the highest level of expertise in that branch in which he practices.
17. Name of the case – Mrs. Swapnil Mishra vs Pushpanjali Healthcare
Year of the case – 27th May, 2019
Principle – A doctor cannot be allowed to misguide the patient just for earning money. He said that a doctor is also not expected to make the patient scared.
18. Name of the case – Smt Saroj Sharma vs Government Of National Capital
Year of the case – 28th May, 2019
Principle – The grant of compensation involving an accident is within the realm of law of torts. It is based on the principle of restitutio in integrum. The said principle provides that a person entitled to damages should, as nearly as possible, get that sum of money which would put him in the same position as he would have been if he had not sustained the wrong.
19. Name of the case – Smt. Savitri Devi W/O Khani Lal vs State Of U.P. Thru Home Secy.
Year of the case – 30th May, 2019
Principle – Evidential principle intended to assist a claimant who, for no fault of his own, is unable to adduce evidence as to how the accident occurred. Where the thing is shown to be under the management of the defendant or his servants, and the accident is such as in the ordinary course of things does not happen if those who have the management use proper care, it affords reasonable evidence, in the absence of explanation by the defendants, that the accident arose from want of care.
20. Name of the case – Pankaj R. Toprani & 3 Ors. vs Bombay Hospital And Research & Medical & 2 Ors.
Year of the case – 11th July, 2019
Principle – A person who holds himself out ready to give medical advice and treatment impliedly undertakes that he is possessed of skill and knowledge for that purpose,
1. He owes a duty of care in deciding whether to undertake the case,
2. He owes a duty of care in deciding what treatment to give and,
3. He owes a duty of care in the administration of that treatment. A breach of any of these duties gives a right of action for negligence to the patient.