Holding a doctor responsible for causing death of a patient due to negligence, the Bombay high court has, however, absolved him of a more serious charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
"The doctor shall face prosecution for an offence punishable under section 304 A IPC (causing death by negligence) instead of 304 part II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder)", ruled Justice KU Chandiwal.
"The applicant had no intention to cause death of the patient. He was extending medical assistance to her as the patient and her parents were of his acquaintance and regularly treated by him. It could be that the applicant ignored taking steps at appropriate time. His gross rashness and negligence has primarily caused death of victim Miss Vidhi," the Judge observed while admitting a petition filed by the doctor.
Dr Sharad Shah, a medical practitioner, had filed a petition seeking discharge from the case in which he was charged with section 304 part II of IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).
The victim was a patient of Dr Shah. She had been to his clinic with her mother on September 19, 2006. He treated her by giving her an injection. She again visited the doctor on the next day along with mother. Her blood test was taken. A day later, the patient had complained of vomiting.
She was brought to Dr Shah's clinic on the same day with complaints of abdominal pain. The doctor started I.V.DNS through her forearms and added injection Avil. Her physical condition started deteriorating. Consequently, I.V. Fluid was detached. She was referred to Cumbala Hill Hospital for further treatment and on September 21, 2006, she succumbed.
The parents of the patient alleged that the doctor was negligent in treating Vidhi and her death was a result of administration of wrong medicine.
An Enquiry Committee of the experts in medical field was constituted which indicted the doctor by its findings, saying that he failed to maintain proper record of clinical findings of the patient.
The Committee felt that the doctor was unable to assess the condition of the patient. He did not refer her to a consulting physician in view of his expertise and looking into condition of the patient at that time. The committee also found that the patient was referred at the eleventh hour without requisite clinical findings and a referral letter.
The Judge noted, "referring to facts of the case it is apparent that the applicant (doctor) was expected to have maintained proper clinical records. He should have in time referred her to a consulting physician and prompt action or decision should have been taken for emergency medical assistance."
"The negligence attributed to the Applicant (doctor), could be in terms of Section 304-A of IPC (causing death by negligence) instead of 304 Part II which deals with punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder," the judge noted while absolving him from the more serious charge.