The district consumer forum has imposed a fine of Rs 10 lakh on Alchemist hospital in Sector 21 and one of its consulting doctors for medical negligence, leading to the death of a newborn baby.
The baby died when the umbilical cord looped around its neck. The forum held that the doctor did not exercise a reasonable degree of care and skill.
In March 2006, complainant Dharmendra Thakur, a resident of Mohali, who was pregnant, approached Dr Kamla Thukral at her residence-cum-clinic in Sector 8 here. After a number of check-ups, Dr Kamla told Dharmendra that the medical condition of the foetus was normal. Later, Dharmendra went to Alchemist hospital, where Dr Kamla practised, and underwent a number of routine check-ups.
In June 2006, Dharmendra started having labour pains which slowly worsened in the next couple of days, leading to complications. However, Dr Kamla kept telling Dharmendra that her complications were normal during pregnancy. As the medical condition of Dharmendra did not improve, she was admitted to Alchemist hospital.
On June 13, 2006, Dharmendra delivered a baby who soon died. In the death certificate, the cause of death was mentioned distress due to umbilical chord around the neck.
Later, Dharmendra moved the consumer court, seeking action against Alchemist hospital and Dr Kamla. During trial, the hospital authorities and the doctor claimed that there was no deficiency on their part and that the baby died due to medical complications for which they were not responsible.
After hearing the case, the forum headed by Dharam Pal, and including members Anita Kapoor and Anil Sharma, observed, “The opposition did not take any steps to get the chord released from the neck of the baby. Even though Dr Thukral is a well-qualified doctor, she did not exercise the reasonable degree of care and skill that was required in the instant case.’’
The forum had first imposed a fine of Rs 15 lakh on Alchemist hospital and Dr Kamla in 2008. The hospital and the doctor filed an appeal in the state consumer forum which, in 2012, held that there was a lack of justification in awarding the case in favour of Dharmendra. It remanded the case back to the district consumer forum, directing it to hear the matter afresh.