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Top Five Negligence Liability Cases Faced by Pharmaceutical Firms in India By Aarzu Khan May 4, 2017

The medical profession is considered as one of the oldest and humanitarian professions in India. Doctors are being ‘worshipped’ and treated life savers. However, it is unfortunate to see that doctors are always in fear as the storm of litigation has hit the medical sector. Lawsuits filed by patients and their families are jamming up courtrooms throughout the country. Here are some of the instances in which cases have been filed against hospitals:

• Mumbai: – A lawsuit was slapped on the Bombay Hospital by a Worli couple seeking Rs 25 lakhs as compensation for mental harassment as they alleged that they have been wrongfully charged 20% extra on their bill as a surcharge for maintenance of the hospital. On 26th August 2016, Mrs. Jaishri Chaudhary, 52, was admitted to the hospital for the removal of a wrist implant. She stayed there until 1st September, and the total medical bill came out to be Rs 2,47,549 for her surgery and stay in the hospital. Thankfully, they had a health insurance cover and the insurer took care of their medical expenses. However, on the day of discharge, the couple was asked to pay an additional Rs 37,694 as the surcharge in the name of hospital maintenance, security, and sanitation. The couple alleged that they had not been informed prior about this surcharge for maintenance.

• Bengaluru: – A father whose 18-month baby died due to fall, filed a police complaint against Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health. The child’s father alleged that it was due to the delay in the treatment that led to the death of the child and it was due to the medical negligence he lost his child. On the basis of the complaint of the father, a case was registered against the hospital under Section 304A.

• Kolkata: – Mrs. Sujata Pandey filed a case against Medica Superspecialty Hospital when his husband, Sunil Kumar Pandey, 42, succumbed after being admitted for a week at the hospital. Sunil was admitted to the hospital after a heart attack and was kept under observation. An angioplasty was done on him but later, doctors claimed that there had been an infection and due to which his foot from the ankle down had to be amputated. However, even after the amputation, his condition deteriorated further and he died.

• Kolkata: – Mrs Ruby Roy lodged a FIR against Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, when his husband, 30-year-old Sanjay Roy died few hours after being shifted to the other hospital. The widow claimed that despite paying over Rs 7 lakhs for the treatment at Apollo, the hospital did not allow them to shift their husband to another hospital. They insisted on paying every single penny and this resulted in the delay of more than five hours, which became the reason of Sanjay’s death.

• Kolkata: -In one of the highest ever compensation awarded in case of a medical negligence, the Supreme Court asked the AMRI Hospital and three doctors to pay a hefty compensation of Rs 5.96 crore along with interest charges to a USA-based Indian-origin doctor who lost his 29-year wife Anuradha during their visit to India in 1998. On 25th April 1998, Anuradha complained of skin rashes and consulted one of the doctors of the hospital, who instead of conducting the test, simply asked her to take a rest. As rashes appeared more aggressively, the doctor prescribed Depomedrol injection 80 mg twice daily, however, after the administration of the injection, her condition worsened, following which she was admitted to the hospital. When her condition failed to improve, she was flown to Breach Candy Hospital, Mumbai, where she was diagnosed with a rare and deadly skin disease — Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN). She died.

There are cases filed against government hospitals too, however, the number is low because the patients might be too poor to file a case against the medical fraternity.

It is sad to know that doctors are in the dock now. There has been a spurt in the number of cases filed against doctors and medical professionals. It has been always, good to have a professional indemnity insurance to combat with the alarming medico-legal cases. Many times, frivolous charges are made against doctors and professionals have no option other than fending for themselves in the court. In such a case, a professional indemnity insurance will help. The policy covers expenses like lawyer fees, compensation paid by doctors and other expenses incurred during the investigation. The indemnity insurance triggers as soon as the notice is given to a doctor.

At the end of the day, doctors are human too and human beings tend to make mistakes. So, we can only expect due diligence and indemnity insurance coverage from medical professionals to deal with medical legal cases