ANUPAM DASGUPTA MEMBER
This revision petition challenges the order dated 23.11.2010 of the Kerala State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Thiruvananthapuram (in short, ‘the State Commission’) in First Appeal no. 227 of 2002. By this order, the State Commission held as under:
'14. In the circumstances we find that there is deficiency in service on the part of the opposite parties. The rather lathargice attitude in not referring the patient to a higher center on the part of the 1st opposite party amounts to negligence on his part. Hence, there is no scope for interfering in the finding of the forum.
15. All the same we find that the amount of compensation awarded appears overlapping in nature. Hence, the above part of the order is modified as follows.
16. The opposite parties would be liable to pay a compensation of Rs.2 lakh to the complainant. The opposite parties will also be liable to pay interest at 9% per annum from the date of complaint is 22.06.1999. The opposite parties would also be liable to pay cost of Rs.7500/-. The amounts are to be paid within 3 months from the date of receipt of this order failing which the complainant will be entitled for interest at 12% per annum from the date this order i.e., 23.11.2010.
In the result the appeal is allowed in part as above'.
2. The father of the complainant Faizal (minor) had approached the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Thrissur, Kerala (in short, ‘the District Forum’) with a complaint of medical negligence/ deficiency in service against the petitioners who were the opposite parties (OPs) before the District Forum. OP 1 was the Orthopaedic Surgeon working at OP 2 hospital at the relevant point of time who, on reference, treated the complainant. The complainant, a boy of nine years at the relevant time, suffered an injury in which a large wooden piece pierced into his left foot. He was taken to OP 2 hospital where one Dr. Mohammed Sayed carried out a surgery on the boy’s foot to remove the wooden piece. He then referred the patient to Dr. Martin Joseph, an Orthopaedic Surgeon at OP 2 Hospital. While under the treatment of Dr. Joseph (OP)/petitioner 1, the complainant was told that the entire wooden piece had been removed. He remained at OP 2 hospital as an in-patient for 25 days. However, on 13.10.11997, the affected part of the complainant’s foot was examined and he was informed that some foreign body (wooden piece) was still inside the foot. OP 1/petitioner then advised an MRI scan of the foot. On examination of the scan report, OP 1 again conducted an exploratory surgery and left the surgical wound open without suturing for days. On 18.11.1997, the patient’s foot was put on plaster, which was removed on 28.11.1997. However, the plaster was again put back the same day. On 25.12.1997, when the plaster was removed, it was seen that there was granulation on the foot which was removed under sedation on 29.12.1997. On 12.01.1998, the patient was again admitted to OP 2 for physiotherapy. The father of the patient was told that the wound would heal soon. However, on 17.03.1998, blisters appeared on the patient’s foot and further treatment had to be started. The blisters on the foot reappeared on 24.07.1998 as well as on 28.08.1998, whereupon, at the request of the complainant/patient’s father, he was referred to Mother Hospital, Thrissur. On 11.09.1999, Dr. Sunny Pazhayattil at the Mother Hospital carried out another exploratory surgery on the patient’s affected left foot and took out a small wooden piece. Thereafter, the patient had to be treated at Mother Hospital for 24 days. Though the patient was under the treatment of OP 1 at OP 2 hospital for nearly a year from 22.09.1997 to 31.08.1998, the patient underwent a lot of sufferings, pain and expenses without full relief. Alleging medical negligence and deficiency in service, the patient’s father filed a consumer complaint before the District Forum seeking compensation of Rs.4.50 lakh on various counts.
3. The OPs contested the allegation and contended that there was no deficiency in service on their part.
4. After detailed consideration of pleadings, evidence and documents brought on record, the District Forum held the OPs guilty of medical negligence/deficiency in service and passed the following order:
'In the result, this complaint is partly allowed and the 2nd opposite party who is vicariously liable for the acts/ omissions of first opposite party is directed to pay Rs.2,00,000/- to the minor patient son of the complainant as compensation for mental harassment, physical strain, excruciating pain and for loss of amenities in life to pay Rs.50,000/- to the complainant with 4% interest from 22.06.1999 till realization to pay Rs.10,000/- as compensation for mental tension, hardships and inconvenience caused to the complainant during the treatment of the minor patient and also to pay Rs.1000/- as cost to the complainant. The amount of compensation shall be deposited by 2nd opposite party before this Forum within one month from the date of receipt of this order'.
5. This order was challenged before the State Commission with the result mentioned above.
6. We have heard Mr. Arvind Kumar learned counsel for the petitioner. In our view, the facts of the case speak for themselves and the petitioners/opposite parties have not been able to satisfactorily explain how they failed, for nearly a year, to locate and remove the remnant of the wooden piece from the foot of the patient, despite having subjected the patient to various diagnostic tests like x-ray, MRI scan, etc. On the other hand Dr. Sunny Pazhayattil
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at Mother Hospital, Thrissur was able to locate the small piece of wood in the affected foot of the patient in a matter of days after looking only at a fresh x-ray of the left foot and to take out the offending foreign body and cure the patient. 7. Therefore, there is no ground for us to interfere with the well-founded and well-reasoned concurrent findings of facts of the Fora below. Moreover, the State Commission has apparently modulated the compensation awarded by the District Forum in favour of the petitioners. 8. In this view of the matter, the revision petition is dismissed in limine, with no order as to costs.