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Hospital & doctor fined for neglect

New Delhi, June 25 (PTI): A consumer court has directed a hospital and one of its doctors to pay Rs 60,000 as compensation for “post-operative negligence” to the family of a patient who died after a hip joint surgery.

“Whenever any nursing home or hospital undertakes to treat a patient or conduct any surgery, it is expected to anticipate all future complications and keep the arrangement of all experts in the field ready, otherwise it should not admit such patients,” the Delhi consumer commission said.

It directed Ram Lal Kundan Lal Orthopaedic Hospital and senior surgeon S.P. Mandal to pay Rs 60,000 including litigation cost to the widow of Narinder Batra, 33, who died on February 1, 1999, within four hours of the surgery.

“We hold the hospital and the doctor guilty jointly and severally for limited negligence for lack of post-operative care and not making available the services of a doctor immediately,” the commission, headed by Justice J.D. Kapoor, said.

Batra, an employee of State Bank of Patiala here, who was having cardiac problems, was admitted to the hospital for the surgery on March 31, 1999.

His family alleged that he was administered anaesthesia and later operated upon despite high blood pressure, which led to deterioration of his condition and sudden cardiac arrest.

Seeking Rs 19.5 lakh as compensation, Batra’s widow alleged that the hospital did not provide the patient the immediate services of a cardiologist. It also did not allow her to take him to a super-speciality centre.

The patient’s widow alleged in her complaint that her husband was given blood that had expired a year ago. She referred to the blood requisition form to support her claim.

Opposing the allegations, the hospital claimed the patient died because of “spontaneous cardiac arrest which was totally unconnected with the operation”.

Finding the hospital guilty of limited liability, the commission said “no expert or medical opinion has been produced by the complainant that the death took place because of transfusion of expired blood”.

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