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Sethuraman Subramaniam Iyer v/s Triveni Nursing Home & Another

    First Appeal No. 286 of 1994
    Decided On, 30 May 1997
    At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC
    By, MEMBER
    By, MEMBER
    For the Appellant: In person. For the Respondents: R1, I.D. Sood, Authorised Representative, R2, Raja B. Thakre, Advocate.

Judgment Text
C.L. Chaudhry, Member:

1. This appeal has arisen out of the order dated 9.12.1993 passed by the Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Maharashtra. The facts which are necessary for the determination of the controversy between the parties may be summarised as under.

2. The complainant's wife Shanta was suffering from repeated attacks of Sinusitis and for that treatment she approached Dr. S.C. Rao opposite party No. 2 for permanent cure. Dr. Rao advised her to admit herself in the Triveni Nursing Home i.e. opposite party No. 1 where Dr. Rao was acting as Consultant and ENT Specialist. Dr. Rao had diagnosed a condition of deviated Nasal Septum and advised Shanta that minor operation would cure the ailment permanently. The complainant enquired from Dr. Rao about the expenses and risk. She was assured by Dr. Rao that there was no risk and the mortality rate was nil. Shanta agreed to go in for operation. The operation was fixed for 28th December, 1990. Shanta was admitted about 5.30 a.m. at the Nursing Home of the opposite party No. 1. Dr. Rao arrived at 5.30 a.m. and advised the staff to make the necessary preparation for the operation of Shanta. Shanta was taken to the operation theatre around 6.10 a.m. while the complainant waited outside. At about 6.20 a.m. Dr. Rao called the complainant in the operation theatre and enquired whether Shanta had any previous complaints of ‘Fits’, to which the complainant replied in the negative. According to the complainant he was asked to sit beside his wife Dr. Rao started making enquiries from his staff for the medicines to be administered to Shanta which he could not locate. Thereafter, Shanta was given an injection of calmpose. Later on Dr. Sood was seen massaging manually Shanta's heart to which she did not respond. It was further alleged that search was going on to locate life saving drug in the operation theatre which was not located by Dr. Rao. Dr. Parulekar was also called on the telephone and on his arrival oxygen was administered to Shanta. Dr. Raghavan was called on the telephone who took over from Dr. Sood and himself started cardiac massage. The complainant was informed by Dr. Raghavan that his wife had suffered from a massive heart attack and she was in a very serious condition. According to the complainant that despite serious condition of Shanta, Cardiologist was not consulted and neither he was called for. Thereafter, Shanta died. The complainant attributed medical negligence in the service of Dr. Rao and claimed Rs. 10.00 lakhs as compensation.

3. Opposite party No. 1 filed its written version through Dr. Sood one of its partner. It was pleaded that no medical services were rendered for consideration to the deceased. However, it was admitted that Dr. Sood was a General Surgeon and ENT consultant and denied that there was any negligence on the part of the opposite party No. 1 Dr. Rao, opposite party No. 1 filed separate written version and denied the complainant's allegation made in the complaint.

4. In support of his allegation the complainant placed on record copy of the operation note of Smt. Shanta maintained by the Nursing Home, copy of the correspondence exchanged between the parties, the post-mortem report his pathological report in respect of Shanta and a copy of the FIR lodged with the Police. On the pleadings and the material placed on record by the parties; the State Commission formulated the following points for determination :

(1) Whether the complaint is maintainable?

(2) Whether there has been negligence in the medical service of opposite party Nos. 1 & 2 ?

(3) Whether the complainant is entitled to claim any compensation ?

5. The State Commission returned the finding that there was no negligence in rendering services by opposite party No. 2. As a result of the finding on the issue No. 2 the complaint was dismissed.

6. Feeling aggrieved by the order of the State Commission, the complainant has approached this Commission by way of this appeal.

7. We have heard the matter and perused the record. The appellant appeared in person while the respondent No. 1 was represented by Dr. I.D. Sood and Mr. Raja B. Thakre, Advocate appearedfor respondent No. 2. The appellant raised a number of points. It was contended by the appellant that the State Commission accepted that the respondent No. 2 had the required professional skill to administer the anaesthesia without the presence of a qualified anaesthetist, the State Commission had not applied its mind to the fact that the respondent No. 2 was unable to cope up with the emergency caused as a result of the anaesthesia administered by him. The resultant anaphylactic shock, evident by the convulsions suffered by appellant's deceased wife, required a short acting antidote and the best would have been pentothal. Instead, the respondent No. 2 displayed total ignorance as a medical practitioner, and for deficiency in storing proper drugs by administering Calmpose, a slow acting sedative. The State Commission failed to consider that though medical practitioner may be well aware of the requirement and sufficiency of anaesthesia, which they administered themselves without an anaesthetist, every medical practitioner such as the respondent No. 2 was expected to encounter and should be able to cope with an emergency situation inherent with administration of anesthesia. The deceased herself had, in a prior consultation a couple of months preceding the operation, informed the respondent No. 2 that she was free from ailments such as diabetes, fits, allergies to food and drugs, except the history of hypertension. The State Commission failed to appreciate that the respondent No. 2 and his assistants were in a state of a panic when unable to treat the unconscious lifeless wife of the complainant for anaphylactic shock. The State Commission did not take into consideration an important fact that the respondent No. 2 wasted precious minutes by questioning the appellant who was called in at 6.20 a.m. into the operation theatre where he found his wife unconscious and did not respond when he called out her name thrice. The State Commission relied upon the operational notes placed on record by respondent No. 2. The State Commission had given no importance to the fact that the medical notes relied upon, were in fact written after the appellant's wife had expired and after the police were informed about the death. The State Commission did not appreciate the post-mortem report in its right perspective. The State Commission erred in ruling out any deficiency in service on the part of respondent No. 2 in the treatment of appellant's wife for anaphylactic shock which risk was inherent in the administration of xylocaine anaesthesia and with which emergency the respondent No. 2 could not cope either due to lack of professional skill, negligence or absence of life saving drugs. On the other hand, on behalf of the respondents it was canvassed that there was no negligence on the part of the respondents in rendering the services. The patient was treated, by keeping the history of the patient, the diagnosis in the relevant circumstances and the benefit of the patient, in mind.

8. We have given our careful thought to the relevant contentions of the parties. The State Commission after perusal of the entire record and taking into consideration the relevant factors, came to the conclusion that there was no negligence on the part of the respondents in rendering service. The State Commission in support of its finding elaborately discussed the material placed on record by the parties. We find that the respondent No. 2 had taken all necessary precautions and effective measures to save Shanta. She requisitioned services of Dr. Sood , Dr. Parulekar, Dr. Parikh and Dr. Raghavan. All of them made frantic efforts to save the deceased. Dr. Sood, Dr. Raghavan and Dr. Parulekar had filed affidavits wherein they categorically denied that there was any negligence in rendering services by the opposite party No. 2. Dr. Sood was a Consulting Surgeon in ENT. Dr. Raghavan was Anaesthetist, Dr. Parekh another Anaesthetist and Dr. Madhekar was a General Physician. It is also in evidence that all the four Doctors had arrived before the death of Shanta. From the record it also appears that the necessary medicines were administered to Shanta and other possible efforts were made to revive her. Shanta developed convulsion and lost her B.P. and pulse before commencement of the operation. It is also in evidence that Shanta was taken into operation theatre and she was given 4% xylocaine, 5 ml. injection. Prior to the administration of that injection, test dose of 0.25 c with 2% xylocaine was given on the right forearm of Shanta. The State Commission had rightly relied upon the operation notes. Nothing had been brought on the record to show that the operation notes were fabricated and were prepared after the death of Shanta. In these circumstances, the State Commission was justified in relying upon those notes. Five Doctors ha

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ve filed their affidavits in support of the case of opposite party No. 2. It appears from the record that the complainant did not requisition the services of any expert to support his allegations. In the absence of any expert evidence on behalf of the complainant, the State Commission was right in relying upon the affidavits filed by the four doctors on behalf of the respondents. In our view, the State Commission was right in holding that there was no negligence on the part of the respondents. The State Commission rightly analysed and appreciated the materials placed on the record. The State Commission arrived at the finding after taking into consideration the totality of the circumstances. No case is made out by the appellant for interference with the order passed by the State Commission. As a result of above discussion, it follows that the appeal is devoid of merit and it deserves dismissal. We order accordingly. We make no order as to costs. Appeal dismissed.