Welcome to We will be updating you with all the latest in the field of medico legal LATEST NEWS

Doctor to pay for delay in shifting cardiac patient … Jenhangir B Gai

Medical negligence is not restricted to treatment but includes management and handling of a patient. A doctor who gives proper treatment but fails in administrative care can be held liable.

Case Study: Swaran Singh took his son to Dr Sanjeet Singh Grewal at Grewal Hospital following complaints of restlessness and excruciating pain. The doctor checked his blood pressure and took an ECG, which revealed the patient had suffered an acute anterior wall myocardial infarction (AMI). The doctor advised two tablets of Sorbitrate 10mg and two tablets of Clavix AS and referred the patient to Hero Heart Centre, Ludhiana. But the patient died on the way while being taken to Apollo Hospital in a car.

Swaran lodged a complaint before the Ludhiana District forum and said the doctor had wasted 30 minutes on ECG instead of trying to maintain vital parameters. Neither was oxygen administered nor was any medicine injected to open the arteries. No ambulance was provided to shift his son to a cardiac centre. He claimed compensation of Rs 10 lakh. The doctor said he was neither a cardiologist nor was his hospital equipped with infrastructure like an ICU. The patient was not admitted to his hospital, but given only first aid as an outdoor patient as per standard protocol. Swaran had also complained to the Medical Council of Punjab, which had held there no negligence.

The district forum dismissed the complaint and Swaran appealed to the Punjab state commission, which set aside the order and directed the doctor to pay Rs 3 lakh along with 9% interest. The doctor filed revision before the national commission. He relied on medical literature showing there is no conclusive medical opinion on use of oxygen for patients of acute AMI. The commission observed that research, data and opinion differed on the use of oxygen. So, it concluded that the doctor could not be held negligent.

Regarding the failure to provide an ambulance for shifting the patient, the doctor explained he had only one ambulance which was transporting another patient. The commission noted that Dr Grewal had not made any effort to call the emergency department of any hospital having cardiac care facility. It upheld the state commission’s judgment holding the doctor and hospital liable to pay Rs 3lakh to Swaran.

Conclusion: Doctors and hospitals must take prompt action to save a life. ( the author is a consumer activist and has won the govt. of India’s national youth award for consumer protection. His e-mail is