Indian News

Army hospital to pay Rs 10 lakh to kin of deceased for negligence

Source: , Posted On:   07 December 2020

Army hospital to pay Rs 10 lakh to kin of deceased for negligence | Mumbai News - Times of India

Kavita Bhatia, the widow of a late army officer, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She was treated at a defence hospital in Delhi where she underwent six cycles of chemotherapy using Gemcite and Carboplatin. In September 2004, she was declared cancer free.
She suffered a relapse in February 2006, and was taken to the Command Hospital in Pune. The doctors decided to administer the same treatment. She showed good progress over a span of four chemotherapy cycles. During the next cycle, the doctor was not present and the nurse on duty indented Cisplatin instead of Carboplatin and administered the drugs with the help of another junior nurse. The patient immediately suffered extreme uneasiness and expired within a few days.
When her daughters took up the issue, an internal court of inquiry was constituted, but they were not allowed access to the proceedings. The hospital did not furnish them with copies of any documents despite their request for the same. Later, in 2008, they came to know through newspaper reports that the army had sentenced the nurse to three years' loss of seniority. On realizing that their mother had died due to medical negligence, the daughters Priya Narhari and Anjali Tathgir filed a complaint before the National Commission.
The hospital defended the case, stating that the wrong drug was given due to a bonafide mistake, for which the nurse had already been suitably punished, and so the complaint should be dismissed.
The Commission observed that treatment for the relapse which occurred in February 2006 continued well till April 2006. As soon as the wrong drug was administered on 21st April, the patient developed vomiting and headache. It noted that no doctor was present during treatment; that the nurse who had no training in chemotherapy indented the wrong medicine and even administered an incorrect dosage, and the officer in charge of supplies had provided the medicine without checking the prescription. This led to kidney damage and multi organ failure, and she expired on April 25.
In its order (dated November 26,2020) delivered by the Bench of Prem Narain and C Viswanath, the National Commission concluded that death was due to negligence which could not be considered a bonafide mistake. The hospital, doctor and nurse were held liable to pay a total compensation of Rs 10 lakh along with 6% interest.
(The author is a consumer activist and has won the Government of India's National Youth Award for Consumer Protection. Email: jehangir.gai.columnist@outlook.in)