Indian News

Hospital, doctor fined Rs 1 lakh as six-month pregnant woman loses child to 'medical negligence'

Source: , Posted On:   16 March 2023


Kasaragod: The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission found Kasaragod Institute of Medical Science (KIMS) and its obstetrician Usha Menon guilty of medical negligence and fined them Rs 1 lakh after a six-month pregnant woman suffered a miscarriage.

The commission also ordered them to pay Rs 10,000 to Naufarah N A (36), a biotechnology engineer from Mogral in Kasaragod, as the cost of litigation.

KIMS denied the charges and has appealed against the order at the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.

Naufarah's advocate Shajid Kammadam alleged that KIMS forged the case sheet to prove Dr Menon attended to the patient and the commission saw through it.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA), an organisation of medical doctors, refused to comment on the case.

Nine years ago, when Naufarah was 27 years old, she was pregnant with her second child. After the initial months of pregnancy in Bengaluru, she came to her parents' house in Mogral and started consulting Dr Menon at KIMS, Kasaragod.

On the night of September 25, 2013, Naufarah's water broke and she was rushed to KIMS around 11 pm.

The foetus floats and grows in a fluid called amniotic fluid. The amniotic sac normally breaks when the baby is ready to come out.

But in Naufarah's case, the membranes ruptured when she was 26 or 27 weeks pregnant. The water gushed out, remembered Naufarah's father Siddique Ali Mogral.

The hospital said Naufarah was brought in at 1 am on September 26, 2013, and not at 11 pm the previous day as claimed by the family.

Nevertheless, Naufarah's mother Zeenat, and brother Mohammed Nuhman said Dr Menon did not attend to her even after she was checked in as an in-patient.

Even after considerable time, Naufarah's mother Zeenat found that the excessive fluid discharge had not stopped and her condition was deteriorating. She demanded the immediate presence of Dr Menon or at least a resident doctor.

However, duty nurse Annamma Stany pacified the relatives saying she had contacted the doctor and said Naufarah's condition was stable. The family said the duty staff administered certain medicine without full clinical assessment.

On September 26, 2013, at 10 am, the hospital did an ultrasound scanning. "Even then the doctor did not come. They did not inform us about her condition either," said Siddique Ali.

The family then shifted her to Carewell Hospital in Kasaragod. Dr Suhara of the hospital asked the family to immediately take her to a hospital in Mangaluru.

The family took her to Vijaya Clinic in Mangaluru. There, Dr Deepak Shetty found that Naufarah lost all the fluid and the foetus was dead. "Dr Shetty told us we would have lost Naufarah too if we had lost another 30 minutes," the father said.

On December 15, the same year, Naufarah dragged Dr Usha Menon and KIMS to the consumer rights commission demanding Rs 5 lakh in compensation for medical negligence.

The hospital denied the charges, saying the doctor attended to Naufarah at 3 am, 9 am, and again at 11.50 am on September 26, 2013. "We have proof that Dr Usha Menon was in the hospital attending to a delivery case when Naufarah was admitted," said Dr Prasad Menon, a director of KIMS and husband of Dr Usha Menon.

He also said the Consumer Commission did not specify what kind of negligence it found against the hospital. "What is that we did not do, what service did we omit? Naufarah was carrying an unhealthy baby and water breaking is nature's way of dealing with it. She did not lose the baby for lack of treatment," Dr Prasad Menon told "That's why we have appealed against the order before the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission," he said.

Naufarah's lawyer Kammadam said the family did not claim the doctor was not in the hospital. "They only said she did not attend to Naufarah when she needed the doctor," he said.

He said the hospital erred while submitting documents to prove their claim. "The case sheets are the only documents which can prove that the doctor attended to Naufarah and they forged it," he said.

He said Naufarah filed her complaint in December 2013 but the hospital filed its reply only after March 2014.

But in its reply, the hospital submitted Naufarah's case sheets with 2014 as the year. "The sheets were clearly forged to submit before the commission," Kammadam said.

The hospital's lawyer realised the mistake too late in the day. "They corrected the dates in a few sheets. But at least two sheets had 2014 as the year," he said.

A doctor attending a patient in September 2013 can in no way write, even by mistake, 2014 in the case sheets.

To be sure, the ultrasonogram done at KIMS showed that the foetus was alive but the fluid was completely drained, and the baby was 26 weeks and five days old and weighed 919g.

Naufarah is now in New Jersey. He gave birth to another child who is one year old now. Her eldest son is studying in Class 2.