New Delhi: A leading hospital here and its gynaecologist have been directed by the apex consumer commission to pay Rs 1 crore compensation to a couple, whose baby suffered mental disability due to the “negligence” of the doctor at the time of delivery.
The child, who underwent treatment for her ailment at several hospitals, had died at the age of 12 years, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) noted in its order while also imposing punitive costs of Rs 10 lakh on Indraprastha Apollo Hospital.
Of the one crore compensation, awarded to the doctor couple, Rs 80 lakh has to be paid by the hospital and the remaining Rs 20 lakh by Dr Sohini Verma, the gynaecologist, the NCDRC ordered while observing it was a “peculiar case” in which the “mother lost her precious child, whereas the child lost all its existence since birth”.
“The insurance company shall indemnify the respective opposite parties (hospital and doctor), as per law,” it said.
The bench, presided by Justice J M Malik, said that the hospital and its doctor indulged in “unethical medical practices and professional misconduct like tampering of medical records to the maximum extent”.
“On bare perusal, it is apparent that, records are tampered at the extents which show erasing marks, pin holes. There are some handwritten insertions, over writings and discrepancies in the doctor’s and sister’s chart,” it said.
The bench said it was important for the doctors and hospitals to properly maintain records of patients as “it will help the doctor to prove that the treatment was carried out properly”.
The NCDRC also observed that the “corporate hospitals” and specialists, were expected to “perform at a higher level than other hospitals/ general practitioners” and they need to be “accountable to a certain degree”.