Hospital to pay for treatment of child with disabilities

The Delhi Consumer Commission has directed the Army Base Hospital to bear all expenses for medical treatment of a child born with physical and mental disabilities at the hospital...

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: February 11, 2009 1:52:37 am

The Delhi Consumer Commission has directed the Army Base Hospital to bear all expenses for medical treatment of a child born with physical and mental disabilities at the hospital,after the staff failed to provide a correct analysis of the child’s disabilities to her parents during pregnancy.

Pragati,the first issue of her parents,Abnash and Alka Srivastava,was born with permanent physical and mental abnormalities at the hospital in March 2007.

The Commission’s directive came while hearing the cross appeals filed by Alka and the hospital. Alka had sought Rs 20 lakh as damages for medical negligence resulting in the grave ailments of her daughter. Accusing the hospital of not diagnosing the problems properly,Alka claimed in her complaint that she visited the hospital frequently during her pregnancy as the staff seemed competent enough to adduce an accurate diagnosis. Had the doctors told her about the possible disabilities of the baby,she could have made a decision regarding the continuation of her pregnancy,alleged the complaint.

The Army Base Hospital,on its part,denied any recklessness on its part. It added that there was no evidence to show that they could have provided a conclusive opinion regarding the disabilities possible with the child during the period the complainant had visited them — and did not. After hearing the arguments,Commission president Justice J D Kapoor ruled in favour of the hospital and noted it was necessary to obtain an expert opinion before the charges of negligence could be upheld against the hospital.

The commission then directed constituting a medical board,comprising doctors from AIIMS,for preparing a report.

“However,in view of the financial status of the parents of the unfortunate child whose upbringing involves huge expenses,keeping in mind the highly sophisticated medical technology and expertise required,we direct the hospital to provide all requisite treatment to the child free of cost,” held Justice Kapoor,adding,“…it is not only their moral but statutory obligation to provide medical assistance free of charges as and when a child is taken to them.” The couple has also been given the liberty to approach another hospital if they are not happy with the facilities provided.

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