The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has directed the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) to pay Rs 2-lakh compensation to relatives of a deceased patient for failing to maintain proper record of equipment used during the treatment. The commission also suggested recovering the compensation amount from the officials who were at fault.
Jug Jeevan Pal and Chander Mohan, sons of deceased patient Darshana Devi, said they admitted their mother, who was suffering from jaundice, to PGI on July 7, 2007. Doctors diagnosed that jaundice was caused by a blockade and placed a 10cm straight biliary stent inside the patient. After a biopsy, the patient was discharged and advised to follow-up after seven days.
A week later, a CT scan was done and the patient was discharged. However, her condition deteriorated and she was rushed for check up. Doctors prescribed several tests and she was advised to visit again in case of emergency. On July 28, the patient was rushed to the hospital following acute pain.
A blockade was detected in the stent and a new one was placed. After an ultrasound examination a few days later, a blockade was seen in the new stent. Due to heavy dose of antibiotics, the patient had respiratory problems after which she was allegedly given oxygen in excess.
Owing to some complications, the patient passed away while going back home.
Her sons approached the institute with a demand for a detailed record regarding the supply of stents, which were installed in the patient. The authorities, however, had not maintained any record and failed to provide same to the complainants.
The duo approached the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, which dismissed their complaint of medical negligence and deficiency in rendering service against PGIMER on July 7, 2011.
They approached the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission and on May 14, 2012, justice Sham Sunder of the commission observed that hundred officers/officials must be working in the said institute, whose duty is to maintain the record of purchases of medicines, medical instrument, accessories and stents in the due discharge of their official duties, for which they are handsomely paid by the exchequer.
"There must be a number of supervisory officers for keeping supervision over their day-to-day discharge of official duties. If the officers/officials of the purchase section(s) were not discharging their duties in a proper manner, then the supervisory officers were required to initiate action against them and ensure that records, aforesaid, were maintained strictly in accordance with the relevant rules and instructions," the commission observed.
The PGI replied that the deceased was an elderly woman with a tumour causing biliary obstruction and had suffered two episodes of severe cholangitis. It was stated that that though the patient was referred to surgical services, her family did not bring her there on the appointed date.
The commission directed the institute to pay Rs 2 lakh as compensation on account of the mental agony and physical harassment suffered by the complainants along with Rs 50,000 as costs of litigation.