At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE V.R. KINGAONKAR
By, PRESIDING MEMBER & THE HONOURABLE MR. VINAY KUMAR
For the Appearing Parties : T.V.S. Raghavendra Sreyas, Srinivas R. Rao, P. Aabid Ali Beeran, Advocates.
VINAY KUMAR, MEMBER
1. The impugned order was passed by the AP State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in a matter, which was remanded to it by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, in CD No. 14 of 1998. It is a case of alleged medical negligence in the treatment of a 14 years old boy. On 20.9.1997, deceased Ujwal was operated upon for appendicitis. The operation was successful and his general condition was good through the day. At about 10 PM, after an injection, his condition suddenly worsened. The boy had to be put on the ventilator, slipped into hypoxia and eventually died on 25.9.1997.
2. It was alleged by the complainant (father of the hapless boy) that the sudden down turn in his condition was caused by an injection of PANANCURONIUM BROMIDE which was mistakenly administered by the Staff Nurse at about 9.30 PM. The complainant based his allegation on a letter by Dr H Radhakrishnan on 22.9.1997 (i.e. 3 days before the boy died) to Dr Krishna Reddy. Admittedly, Dr Radha Krishnan was a part of the medical team treating the boy. This letter was written to obtain a second opinion for the benefit of the complainant as well as the treating surgeons.
3. Per contra, OPs 1,2,4 and 5 have accused the complainant for faking the purchase bill to generate evidence to show that Fancuran (Panancuronium) injection was procured. As for the letter of Dr Radhakrishna, they say that it was based not on personal knowledge but on the information given to him by the husband of Dr Geethalakshmi. They also refer to the case sheet of the patient, according to which at 10 PM Divon injection was given. It had also been given before at 10AM when there was no reaction. OP-3, the Staff Nurse denied giving Fancuran injection to the deceased.
4. The State Commission rejected the claim of the OPs that the complainant had fabricated evidence regarding the purchase bill of Fancurium. Further, on the basis of evidence of OP-2, it concluded that this injection was given by the nurse, who had mistaken it for an analgesic. The Commission therefore, held OPs 1,3,and 5 jointly and severally liable to pay a compensation of Rs 4 lakhs to the complainant.
5. In the appeal filed before this Commission, it is mentioned that around 10 PM, for some inexplicable reason, the patient developed shaking of hands and legs and went into hypoxia. The appeal memorandum also says that ‘administration of Metrogyl and Divon is extremely routine and that it is extremely rare that it could lead to fall in blood pressure, pulse or respiratory problems.’
6. This raises a question as to what else could have caused the sudden and violent regression in the condition of the deceased. Strangely enough, the appeal memorandum itself states that the letter of 22.9.1997, which specifically mentioned Fancuran Bromide injection, was written 'Believing the representation of the said Dr Geetha Lakshmi and also keeping in mind the close family relations between appellant No. 2 and the complainant, under their influence, issued a letter dated 22.9.1997 wherein it was, inter alia, stated that the patient’s condition had developed due to an injection of 'Fancuran Bromide 2 ml.' But the appeal memorandum explains it as a letter obtained by the complainant and Dr Geethalakshmi by making a false representation. It even suggests that Dr Geethalakshmi herself may have given this injection by mistake, simultaneously maintaining that no such injection was prescribed or given. The main ground for challenge to the impugned order is that the State Commission has held the OPs responsible ignoring their plea that the bill for Fancuran was not genuine and the letter of 22.9.1997 was obtained by misrepresentation. Nos basis is given by the appellant for such claims.
7. We have perused the records of the case and heard the two counsels. Learned counsel for the appellants relied heavily on the fact that there is no mention of Fancuran injection in the record of treatment. However, the counsel had no answer to the question, if Fancuran was not injected and only Divon and Metrozyl were given (which as per the OPs, are not known to cause such reaction) what else could have caused the sudden deterioration in the condition of the patient on the night of the operation, 20.9.1997. The hospital and the treating doctors should have given a professionally acceptable answer to this question instead of relying on bland denials that Fancura
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n was not administered. 8. For the reasons detailed above, we find no substance in the appeal No 287 of 2006 filed by the OPs. It is consequently dismissed. We also do not find any ground for enhancement of the amount of compensation. The quantum awarded by the State Commission is commensurate with the nature of medical negligence in this case. Therefore, the appeal No 191 of 2008 filed by the complainant is also dismissed. The impugned order is confirmed. Parties to bear their own costs.