New Delhi: St Stephens Hospital was on Thursday directed by the apex consumer commission to pay Rs eight lakh to the family of a patient who died as a result of the hospital`s "gross medical negligence" in the treatment given to him.
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) said it was evident from the facts that "neither were the required diagnostic tests carried out nor the consequent medical treatment adopted in this case as should have been adopted by any doctor" and enhanced the compensation from the amount of Rs five lakh awarded by the Delhi state consumer commission.
"From a narration of the facts of this case, as discussed above, it is evident that neither were the required diagnostic tests carried out nor the consequent medical treatment adopted in this case as should have been adopted by any doctor...
"Keeping in view the gross medical negligence on the part of the Hospital in the treatment of the patient which was substantially responsible for his death at the age of 32 years,... There is scope for enhanced compensation. We are, therefore, of the view that a lump sum compensation of Rs eight lakh is justified in this case," a bench presided by its members Vineeta Rai and Vinay Kumar said.
The patient, Ram Niwas, died on March 11, 1996 after bleeding due to Thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) induced by hepatitis, which was not tested for by the hospital during the five days he was admitted there, NCDRC noted.
The order came on the appeals of the Hospital and the patient`s family against the state Commission`s order.
While the Hospital had sought setting aside of the state Commission`s order holding it guilty of medical negligence, the patient`s family had sought enhancement of compensation.
In its defence, St Stephen`s Hospital had cited medical literature to contend there is nothing wrong in discharging a patient having dangerously low platelet count of 19,000 as opposed to the required value of 1.5-4.5 lakh.
It had also argued that at the time of discharge the patient`s condition had improved and that the illness due to which he died had developed overnight.