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  1. Medical Negligence

    —  Failure of operation and side effects are not negligence.

    —  Negligence is absence or lack of care that a reasonable person should have taken in the circumstances of the case.

    —  For medical negligence ingredients are essential.

    ◦       That the doctor owed certain standards of care and duties.

    ◦       Doctor Failed to perform his duties and necessary care was not taken.

    ◦       Due to lack of care patient suffered injury.

    ◦       There should be close proximity between negligent act and resultant injury.

    Emergency Cases Guidelines:

    • Consent is not required in emergency cases
    • Drug reactions are not consider negligent
    • Any Act done in good faith is exempted

    Case Law

    Parmanand Katara v. Union of India

    A Scooterist severely injured in a road accident was refused for admission when taken to nearest hospital on the excuse that hospital was not competent to handle medico legal cases

    Supreme Court Categorically stated that ‘Article 21 of the constitution casts obligation on a state to preserve life.  Also, every Doctor whether at Govt. Hospital or otherwise has the professional obligation to extend his/her service with due expertise for protecting life of any patient.’

    Highest Compensation Awarded

    Kunal saha v.  AMRI (Advanced Medical Research Institute)

    • Patient Complaint of acute pain, fever, rashes. Doctor recommended higher doses of steroid. The patient was administered 80 mg of depomedrol and prescribed 2 no’s injection daily for 3 days. The maximum recommended dose of the drug for any clinical condition is 40-120 mg at minimum interval of 1-2 weeks b/w the doses.
    • After few days the patients was diagnosed with toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) which is a rare skin conditions caused by reaction to drugs.  Thereafter patient died at Breach Candy Hospital, Mumbai.
    • Held:  Supreme Court asked the doctors and hospital to pay 5.96 Cr. to Kunal Saha (Husband of Deceased).


    Protection to Doctors

      Jacob Matthews Vs State of Punjab (2005) Crl. L.J. 3710              

    •  A complaint against a doctor is not to be entertained unless the allegation against him is supported by a credible opinion given by another doctor. If the doctor feels that negligence on the part of the medical practitioner has resulted to the loss of well being of the plaintiff, then the complaint may be registered. 
    •  The investigating officer before proceeding against the accused ought to get a medical opinion from a competent doctor, preferably in the government services, qualified in that field of medical sciences who can give an impartial opinion. 
    •  The arrest of the accused should be withheld unless  it is believed by the investigating officer unless he believes that it is necessary to arrest the accused so as to further the investigation of the case. It may further be withheld unless it is believed that the accused doctor will not make himself available to face the prosecution unless he is arrested.

    Some Do’s and Don’t  For Doctors

    —  Ordinary and reasonable care and skill should be applied at all times with all patients.

    —  Detail record in respect of all the patients should be methodically maintained.

    —  Consent of patient whenever the situation demands must be obtained in writing.

    —  X-ray filming should be advised in case of suspected facture of jaw .

    —  A specialist should be preferably be consulted in case diagnosis is not precise.

    —  Do not go beyond the point of your skill.

    —  In case the nature of treatment is new or is an experiment, the consent of the patient should be obtained.

    —  Always give proper instruction regarding the dosage, duration and likely effect of medicines to the patients.

    —  Do not Delegate your duty to your juniors and staff which is in your professional competency.

    —  In case of medico legal implications, do inform the police and remember that life of victim is more important than anything else.

    —  Issue genuine certificates and bills

    —  In cases involving complicated surgeries maintain video filming or CD and give one copy under reciept to patient on discharge.

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