In the wake of increasing numbers of medical negligence complaints against private hospitals, the Supreme Court has decided to lay down guidelines to be followed during operations and post-operative care. A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra issued notices to the Centre, Medical Council of India and all state health secretaries after it was told no proper care is taken by hospital staff to save critically ill patients after they are operated.
It was submitted before the bench that neither the government nor the MCI has prescribed any guidelines to treat patients in the Intensive Care Units or Critical Care Units. The bench will now take up the matter in the first week of October. The court gave its order while it was hearing an appeal against a National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission’s (NCDRC) order declining compensation to Kolkata-based Asit Mondal who alleged that his daughter-in-law died due to gross medical negligence by a nursing home gynaecologist following a caesarean delivery.
In his appeal before the top court Mondal said his daughter-in-law was kept for three days in the nursing home after her delivery. No attention was paid to her despite her critical condition.
When the patient became almost moribund, she was transferred to Medica Superspeciality Hospital in Kolkata where she eventually died on December 29, 2013. Doctors later revealed she died due to acute liver failure (ALFP). Mondal had sought `2 crore in damages.
Mondal’s counsel submitted the commission dismissed the case, without any heed to the awful medical care of the critical patient before and after the caesarean delivery. Majumdar said the forum did not appreciate the fact of medical negligence while adjudicating the consumer dispute. He submitted there is a distinction between the medical negligence agitated in a consumer forum and the medical negligence in criminal proceedings.