By: Kartik Kumar
The Punjab state consumer disputes redressal commission has ordered two doctors to pay Rs 4,50,000 as compensation for causing medical negligence that led to the death of a woman during abortion.
Tej Bhan Taneja, a resident of Mansa, said that an ultrasound examination of his pregnant wife Parveen Taneja at the Civil Hospital, Mansa, had indicated that the cardiac activity of foetus could not be seen and she was advised to take second opinion. On May 15, 2009, she went to the Mother & Child Care Hospital, Mansa, and was informed by Dr Monica Singla and Dr Rajiv Singla that there was a possibility that the foetus was dead and forced Parveen to go for an abortion.
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Tej Bhan further alleged that he was asked to arrange for four blood units for his wife, which were administered to her. But, her condition worsened, and the doctors referred her to the Nova Heart Institute and Research Centre in Bathinda. However, when the patient was taken there, Dr Sukhdev Singh declared her brought dead, and the post-mortem report stated that her death could have been possibly caused due to air embolism. Further, it was learnt that a person suffering from air embolism cannot be transfused blood, indicating negligence on the part of the doctors. Following this, Tej Bhan filed a complaint in the consumer court.
In their joint reply, the doctors alleged that the patient’s previous delivery was caesarian and she had conceived for the third time against medical advice. According to the doctors, the ultrasound examination conducted at Civil Hospital, Mansa, had hinted at the foetus being already dead. In view of this, the patient and her brother had allegedly given consent to abortion after all the risk factors were explained to her. As per the doctors, she had been properly monitored and “it is impossible for a doctor to guarantee a successful result in every case”.
On the day of the hearing, the commission presided by J S Klar noted that the respondents (doctors) had placed no document on record to prove that an investigation had been conducted to ascertain the condition of the patient before starting the abortion procedure. Also, there was no evidence that the doctors had taken consent from the patient before the operation, thus holding them liable for medical negligence.
In an order dated May 5, 2010, the district consumer disputes redressal forum, Mansa, had ordered the doctors to pay Rs 4,36,000 as compensation, Rs 4,000 for funeral expenses and Rs 10,000 towards litigation costs at an interest rate of 9 per cent within a period of 45 days. Following the judgment, the doctors filed an appeal in the commission, which was dismissed and the decision was upheld.