New Delhi: If a patient dies or suffers due to medical negligence in a hospital then its management cannot be prosecuted, the Delhi High Court has said holding that only
the doctors should be penalised.
The court, however, said the management of the hospital would be liable in case of administrative negligence and failure to provide basic infrastructure to the patients.
"The hospital/company cannot be held liable for the personal negligence of the doctor in giving wrong treatment," Justice Shiv Narayan Dhingra said while quashing criminal
proceedings against the city`s reputed Indraprastha Apollo hospital.
"If there is an administrative negligence or a negligence of not providing basic infrastructure, which results into some harm to an aggrieved person or such negligence which is impersonal, the hospital can be held liable," Justice Dhingra said.
"But, in the case of medical negligence, which is personal to the doctor who gave treatment, the Corporation would not be liable and it is the doctor who can be indicted
for medical criminal negligence," the court said.
The court also said it is the doctor who treats the patients and hospitals should not be punished due to error on part of its medical staff.
"The offence of medical criminal negligence cannot be fastened on the company since the company can neither treat nor operate a patient of its own."
"It is the doctor working in the hospital who treats and performs operations. It is the doctor who examines the patients and prescribe medicines. If there is a deliberate or
negligent act of the doctor working in the hospital, it is the liability of the doctor and not of the hospitals for criminal negligence," the court said in a recent order.
The order was passed on a petition filed by Indraprastha Medical Corporation Ltd challenging a Metropolitan Magistrate`s order for registration of FIR against it for
alleged medical negligence resulting in the death of a patient in 2007.
The company contended that the hospital could not be held responsible as the patient was being treated by three doctors from the Department of Cardiology a few years back.
The counsel argued that the patient had a natural death at his home several months after the surgery but the family alleged that severe complications due to negligent treatment
by the doctors led to the death.