Compensation of Rs. 5 lakh awarded for failure of doctors to diagnose foetal anomalies

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission
(NCDRC): NCDRC has awarded a compensation of Rs.5
lakh to the wife of Armed Forces personnel, who delivered a girl suffering from
deformities which need supervision throughout the life, due to the negligence
and deficient services of the doctors of Army Hospital and Base Hospital at
Delhi Cantonment. During her pregnancy, the Complainant took treatment and
attended to regular check-ups and ultrasound study (USG) at Base Hospital and
Army Hospital. Even after transvaginal ultrasound, performed at Army Hospital
it was informed to the Complainant that the foetus was well developed. Later,
when she suffered pain, she was rushed to Singhal Nursing Home, where doctor
performed ultrasound and found fetal anomalies like Spinal Bifida,
Meningomyelocele, and hydrocephalus. This was also confirmed at Base Hospital.
Later, Complainant delivered a female child with lack of spontaneous movements
of lower limbs, lack of anal reflex and open neural tube defect. The attending
doctor opined that the child may need a number of surgeries, throughout the
life and there are no chances of proper cure. Hence, alleging deficiency in
service and for the negligence caused by the doctors at Base Hospital and Army
Hospital, Complainant approached District Forum which allowed the complaint and
directed Base Hospital and Army Hospital to pay Rs.5 lakh as compensation to
the complainant along with Rs.5,000/- as costs. In appeal, State Commission
decided in favor of Base Hospital and Army Hospital and dismissed the
complaint. After perusal of relevant documents, including the medical record of
the Complainant, Commission noted that failure to diagnose the obvious foetal
anomalies in 12th, 14th and 21st weeks of gestation by the doctors of Base
Hospital and Army Hospital indicate that there was a breach in duty, as the
doctors had not exercised their reasonable degree of skill and care. While
rendering relief to the Complainant, NCDRC directed Base Hospital and Army
Hospital to abide by their undertaking
that the child, who was the daughter of a serving Armed Forces personnel, was
entitled for free medical care for her entire life along with the required
social and infrastructure support, and
in addition, to pay Rs.5 lakh
compensation and Rs.5,000/- as litigation charges, to the complainant. [Alka Srivastava v. Base Hospital, Delhi Cantonment, 2015 SCC OnLine NCDRC 17, decided on 02.07.2015]
Source: Legal news India

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