A patient seeks medical help for treating an injury or a condition, and the treatment turns into a grave matter of life and death for the individual. Haven’t we all heard of such serious cases of medical negligence before? Of patients being diagnosed for simple conditions and losing their lives in the bargain. All due to serious neglect by a medical professional.
But there are, we believe, many more such cases which are not brought out due to the simple reason of a patient not seeking for what is his right as a ‘consumer’ of the hospital – proper service. But today we are sharing a case study of an empowered consumer who did appeal for justice and compensation against a doctor on grounds of medical negligence; and was adequately compensated last week by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission – NCDRC.
Jai Prakash Mehta, a resident of Bihar, while working as a contract labourer for Indian Railways suffered a serious electric shock leading to severe burns on his right hand. He was immediately taken to Dr. B. N. Rai, an ENT specialist in Rohtas, Bihar for treatment. He was under the medical treatment of Dr. B. N. Rai for a span of two weeks. Later he was referred to the [su_highlight]Institute of Medical Sciences and S.S. Hospital of the Banaras Hindu University where he was informed that due to wrong treatment gangrene had set in his body, and his right arm needs to be amputated in order to save his life[/su_highlight].
Jai was shocked to hear this, and knew that this was a case of sheer medical negligence for which he was being made to suffer. He approached the Bihar State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission to seek justice, but was not granted his right as the Commission dismissed his plea for compensation.
But Jai Prakash didn’t give up. He filed for a revision of the Commission’s statement in NCDRC. NCDRC’s president D.K.Jain and members Vineeta Rai and Vinay Kumar went through the case once again, and as per the provisions laid in the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, set aside Bihar State Commission’s order stating the fact this was a case of medical negligence.
In their Order they stated that, [su_quote] “He(Dr. Rai) did not adopt the practice in respect of diagnosis and treatment in the case, which would be adopted by a doctor of ordinary skill in accordance with at least one of the responsible bodies of opinion of professional practitioners in the field, since he gave only first aid treatment which was totally inadequate and ineffective for injuries caused by serious burns.”[/su_quote] They also made an observation that Dr. Rai being an ENT specialist should not have even treated the electric burns as ‘prima facie’ he did not possess adequate skills and should have referred a specialist. As a result they granted the case in favour of Jai.
Jai Prakash Mehta was granted justice as he exercised his ‘power as a consumer’. What about you? Are you or any one you know a victim of such callous medical treatment? Log on to Power to Consumer and let us know.
Image By Hmhedp – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26928007