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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

Newborn’s death: 5 yrs on, Ropar hospital, doctor to pay up ₹35 lakh for negligence

The commission has also asked the hospital to pay the couple 8% interest on the compensation amount from December 2015.

cities Updated: Aug 17, 2019 23:35 IST
Shailee Dogra
Shailee Dogra
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Consumer commission says the nursing home and doctor were deficient and medically negligent while conducting the delivery in November 2014.
Consumer commission says the nursing home and doctor were deficient and medically negligent while conducting the delivery in November 2014.(Getty Images)
         

It took five-year-long legal battle for a Ropar couple to prove that the death of their newborn girl was due to the “negligence” of a local hospital and its doctor.

“Pannu Nursing Home (also known as Pannu Eye and Gynae Hospital) and Dr Ravinder Pannu were grossly negligent while conducting the delivery and after the birth, they failed to arrange a paediatrician to save the child from the complications,” ruled the Punjab state consumer disputes redressal commission while directing them to pay ₹35 lakh compensation to Kaushal Kishore Jha and his wife Divya Jha.

The commission has also asked the hospital to pay the couple 8% interest on the compensation amount from December 2015 “on account of sudden loss of newly born child due to sheer medical negligence and deficiency in service and resultant loss of love and affection of the child, mental agony, harassment, avoidable pain, sufferings caused to them”. Also, ₹33,000 will be paid to the couple towards litigation expenses. The order was passed on July 4, though it was made available on August 16.

AGGRIEVED FATHER’S ACCOUNT

Jha, who is a junior assistant at the Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar, said his wife got pregnant in 2014.

As Pannu’s hospital was empanelled with the IIT, the couple decided to avail themselves of its services for the delivery of their first child.

The girl was delivered at 11:40pm on November 19, 2014. Within 45 minutes of the delivery, Jha noticed that the baby was finding it difficult to breath. He alerted the nurse, who suggested that the baby probably needed more warmth and took her to the labour room, which had not yet been cleaned after the previous delivery.

Despite Jha’s repeated requests to the staff to call the doctor immediately, they failed to pay any heed. As the child’s condition deteriorated, Jha was asked around 2am to take the child to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh. However, none of the hospital employees accompanied them. The child was declared brought dead at the PGIMER.

HOSPITAL DENIES ALLEGATIONS

The hospital and Dr Pannu denied the allegations, stating that the establishment is being run for the past 17 years and followed all the protocol with respect to the treatment. They said equipment needed to tackle any complication is available with them.

Unimpressed by the submissions, the commission held, “I am prima facie satisfied that the nursing home and doctor were deficient and medically negligent while conducting the delivery, and after birth in mismanaging the case of the baby by not taking adequate and required care as per standard medical protocol. The medical record further reveals that the nursing home and doctor were also negligent at prepartum checkup stages.”

The commission held that the hospital even “failed to provide an ambulance equipped with all sorts of facilities required in time”. “Due to sheer negligence and deficiency in service on the part of nursing home and doctor, the child could not come out of the complications and died on the way to the referred hospital,” ruled the commission.

First Published: Aug 17, 2019 23:26 IST

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