Court orders ex-gratia payment to a patient

Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the Union Government to make an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 1 lakh to a teen-aged patient who was given wrong treatment for her spinal injury at Safdarjung Hospital here last year.

Passing the order, Justice Vikramjit Sen said that the amount would be invested in the Monthly Income Scheme (MIS) of the Department of Posts at a post office here and the interest accruing on it would be available to the victim, Manju, to tide over the difficulties faced by her.

He further asked the Government to shift the patient to Indian Spinal Injury Centre at Vasant Kunj here for her further treatment at its cost.

Mr. Justice Sen also made it clear that the payment of the ex-gratia to the victim would not kill her right to initiate any legal action against the hospital authorities for a larger amount of compensation in future.

Earlier, the Additional Solicitor-General, P.P. Malhotra, submitted the Government was ready to bear the costs, which the victim would incur on treatment of her spinal at any hospital.

As regards payment of ex-gratia to the victim, Mr. Malhotra said that the Government was not ready to pay more than Rs. 20,000 to her.

Reacting to the proposal, Mr. Justice Sen said that it was a too small amount and that he was thinking of paying a much larger amount to her.

When Mr. Malhotra submitted that the Government would abide by whatever amount the Court ordered to pay, Mr. Justice Sen raised it to Rs. 1,00000.

A two-member committee of senior doctors had held Dr. Yadu Lal, who had operated upon the patient for insertion of `Harrington rods' in the spine, guilty of doing the surgery and the insertion of implants `badly.'

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