SCDRC upholds an order of district consumer forum

The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC) has upheld an order of a district consumer forum directing the State government to pay Rs.five lakh as compensation to a person, whose son died due to negligence of a doctor of the Government General Hospital, Chennai.

Dismissing an appeal of Health Department, the Commission, headed by its president Justice R.Regupathi, pointed out that the Supreme Court had ruled that doctors serving in government hospitals were liable for negligence and deficiency in service. According to Kothandaraman of Villivakkam, his son - Loganathan - was studying standard IX in a higher secondary school. Along with other students, his son was examined by doctors under the ‘Varumun Kaapom’ scheme of the State government. Following the advice of doctors, Loganathan underwent a surgery at the Government General Hospital for removal of tonsillitis on January 29, 2001. After the surgery was over, he appeared normal, but subsequently developed complications. Eventually, he died. Mr. Kothandaraman obtained the post-mortem report only after waging a legal struggle before the Madras High Court. He filed a consumer complaint before the North Chennai District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, seeking compensation from the hospital authorities.

The District Forum held that there was negligence and deficiency on the part of doctors of the hospital. It also directed the Health Department to pay Rs. five lakh as compensation.

Aggrieved by that order, the department filed the appeal. The Health department contended that ‘Ampicillin’ injection was administered to the boy after test dose and there was no reaction. There was no problem till the fourth dose. After administration of the fifth dose, he developed severe allergic reaction, resulting in death in spite of best efforts to save him.

Rejecting the contention, the SCDRC confirmed the order passed by the district forum and pointed out, “Had the doctors conducted the test before administration of fifth dose, death would not have occurred. So, the failure of the doctors amounts to negligence and deficiency in service, as a result of which a precious life was lost.”

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