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HindustanTimes Wed,23 Jul 2014

Father of medical negligence victim yet to receive damages

HT Live Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Ludhiana, February 27, 2013
First Published: 20:52 IST(27/2/2013) | Last Updated: 20:54 IST(27/2/2013)

Over two months after the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission directed Grewal Hospital, Gill Road, to pay Rs. 3 lakh to the complainant as compensation for medical negligence, the latter claims he is yet to receive the amount.

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Setting aside the order of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, the commission on December 19, 2012, had allowed the complaint of Sher Singh (78), who had submitted that his 52-year-old son, Preetpal Singh, had died due to negligence of Dr Sanjeet Singh Grewal at Grewal Hospital.

Meanwhile, Dr Grewal claims to have appealed against the commission's ruling in the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. However, Sher maintained that he had not been notified about Dr Grewal's appeal.

In his appeal before the commission, Sher had submitted that on June 6, 2008, his son complained of acute pain all over the body, following which he took him to Grewal Hospital on Gill Road at 10am.

He alleged Dr Sanjeet Singh Grewal examined Preetpal and conducted his ECG, besides prescribing him medicines. However, the doctor wasted 30 minutes in conducting the ECG, and did not maintain his vital parameters, like temperature, pulse and blood pressure, he added.

Sher also alleged that the doctor did not administer a medicine to his son, which could have helped open the arteries and valves of the heart and keep his son alive.

The complainant submitted that his son was referred to a cardiac hospital. However, Grewal Hospital did not provide oxygen, ambulance or any assistance to transport his son, which resulted in his death.

In his reply to the forum, Dr Grewal said as per protocol, the patient's blood pressure was checked immediately and urgent ECG was done, which took merely three minutes, and revealed that he had suffered a massive heart attack. Dr Grewal submitted as the hospital was not equipped to handle a cardiac arrest patient, no time was wasted and the patient was referred to Hero Heart Centre of DMCH.

However, before an ambulance could be provided, the patient was taken by his relatives in a car to SPS Apollo Hospital instead of Hero Heart Centre, DMCH, he added.

In its decision, the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission had said, "It is clear that the doctor did not use proper skill and knowledge expected from a doctor to save the life and to ensure that the patient in critical condition reaches the hospital, where the ailment could be managed safely, and that amounts to negligence and carelessness on the part of doctor."

The commission ruled a little lapse on the part of doctor caused the loss of a precious life of the only son of the appellant and the respondents (doctor and hospital) were liable to compensate him, although, the death cannot be compensated in any manner, adding that the order passed by the District Forum was based on conjectures and surmises and was liable to be set aside.

District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum in March 2012 had dismissed the complaint. The Punjab Medical Council (PMC) had also given a clean chit to Dr Grewal.

Meanwhile, Indian Medical Association (IMA) state president Dr Manoj Sobti said if a doctor was guilty, he should be punished, but if somebody was harassing a doctor, he should also be brought to book.

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