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TMH mum on 2011 negligence case

Jamshedpur’s touted heal hub Tata Main Hospital (TMH) has been served a fourth and final notice in a three-year-old medical negligence case, failing which the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission may deliver its verdict even in the absence of its arguments.

The Thursday notice from the New Delhi court of Justice Ajit Bharihoke comes in the wake of the hospital’s legal counsel failing to file counter-evidence in the form of an affidavit despite being given three dates since January. The new deadline for pleading is July 11.

The medical negligence case dates back to May 20, 2011.

Timken India finance executive Vishal had rushed to TMH with chest pain and the doctor at the emergency, Atul Chhabra, allegedly misdiagnosed his ECG graph and prescribed pills for gastritis. The 33-year-old assistant manager died of a heart attack the next morning.

Vishal’s Delhi-based MNC executive brother Shishir Chand filed a case with NCDRC in April 2013. According to Shishir, his brother’s blood pressure was elevated (150/100) at the time of ECG and yet the doctor ignored the sign, besides misinterpreting the ECG.

“The doctor gave my brother medicines for gastric problem, including Buscopan injection for abdominal pain, whereas Vishal had complained of chest pain,” the bereaved brother said over phone from Delhi. He also claimed that Vishal was obese and they had a family history of cardiac ailments. “Our father died of myocardial infarction at 44. The doctor at TMH failed to probe this congenital risk factor.”

Shishir filed evidence with the commission by way of affidavits on December 2 last year. He cited opinions of two doctors — Cuttack cardiologist Dipak Ranjan Das and Thiruvananthapuram general physician R.K. Bhaskaran — who agreed that Vishal’s heart graph (ECG was available in the patient’s medical book) was not normal.

The consumer court of Justice Bharihoke gave TMH and Dr Atul Chhabra three opportunities — January 28, March 12 and April 24 — this year to file evidence in the form of affidavits.

According to registrar documents available with The Telegraph, the TMH counsel had on January 28 sought eight weeks to file evidence. The commission allowed four weeks and fixed March 12 as the next date of scrutiny.

TMH missed the deadline again in a similar fashion and was asked to submit evidence latest by Thursday. When it disobeyed orders a third time, the court listed the case for final pleading on July 11 failing which “the matter will be put before the honourable Bench”.

“The hospital will have to file evidence by the next date of hearing. If they fail this time, the court will fix the next date for final arguments in the opposite party’s absence,” Shishir said.

Corporate communications officials of Tata Steel that runs the hospital refused to comment.


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