Court rejects Rs.2.35 crore compensation claim against Hospital in Organ Transplantation case

Doctors and Hospital were discharged from the allegations of Medical Negligence for Rs.2.35 Crore compensation was claimed in a Unique case in respect of Organ Transplantation, where the main allegations may be summarized as under :

“a) Why a laparoscopic bilateral nephrectomy operation was a precondition to a kidney transplant and
b) Why doctors failed to perform a renal transplant despite availability of kidney donor.
c) Why more than six operations were performed on the patient during the stay in the Hospital, which ultimately resulted into death of the patient and the consent was given under duress”

Court rejects Rs.2.35 crore compensation claim against Hospital in Organ Transplantation case

The National Commission in its judgment dated 12/05/2015 in the case of Smt. Jyoti Chopra V/s. Indraprashta Medical Corporation Limited & ors observed at the threshold as, “Careful preoperative work-up of every transplant candidate is mandatory to improve post-transplant organ and patient survival. The workup should be tailored according to patient’s` specific conditions, by a multidisciplinary approach before proceeding to transplantation”.
The judgment is 16 pages and rival contentions were advanced by both the parties and expert opinion given by AIIMS was in favor of Doctors.
AIIMS opined that “the renal transplantation is never an emergency life-saving surgery, since patients of End-stage Renal Disease can be sustained indefinitely on hemo-dialysis; and the mere presence of a kidney donor does not mean that renal transplantation should necessarily be performed in a hurry. This patient had an infected urinary tract with residual renal stone and bilateral hydronephrosis. Hence, it was completely justified to perform pre-transplant bilateral nephrectomy. In fact not investigating for causes of recurrent stone disease, and not performing bilateral nephrectomy would be considered deviation from standard clinical practice. Dialysis patients are always at high risk of intra and peri-operative surgical complication. It is our considered opinion that multiple interventions were necessary and per se there is no evidence of medical negligence.”

Court rejects Rs.2.35 crore compensation claim against Hospital in Organ Transplantation case

The national Commission relied upon the opinion of the AIIMS as well as upon other literature and after perusing the entire medical record and various case laws, observed that availability of a suitable donor alone was not enough to proceed with the major operation of a kidney transplant, the patient also must be fit for Kidney transplant and kidney transplantation is not a miracle therapy for kidney failure. Following nephrectomy, hemodialysis was duly carried out on the patient.The Commission further observed that after discharge, the patient had developed fever and the patient was transferred to the free patient’s ICU and hence, there was no financial implication to the family.
While denying the allegations of negligence against the Doctor for choosing wrong treatment and deviating from normal line of treatment, the Commission relied upon the landmark judgment of Hon’ble Apex Court os Samira Kohli V/s, Dr. Prabha Manchanda & Anr. Appeal (Civil) 1949 of 2004 dated 16.01.2008, wherein it was observed that ““it is for the doctor to decide, with reference to the condition of the patient, nature of the illness and the prevailing established practices as to how much information regarding the risk and consequences should be given and how they should be couched in the best interest of the patient. A doctor acting accordingly with normal care and in accordance with a recognized medical practice cannot be said to be negligent merely because body of opinion taken a contrary view. In modern medicine and surgery dissection of the various thing a doctor has to do in the exercise of his whole duty of care owned to his patient is neither legally meaningful nor medically practicable.”
In spite of every effort, the patient’s fever and infection continued, hence transplantation was not possible, therefore unfortunately the patient died, but the commission rejecting the allegations of Negligence on this count relied on the judgment of Supreme Court in the case of Martin F. D’ Souza vs. Mohd. Ishfaq”, 2009 CTJ 352 (Supreme Court) (CP) in which the Hon’ble Supreme Court was pleased to observe as under:-
“A medical practitioner is not liable to be held negligent simply because things went wrong from mischance or misadventure or through an error of judgment in choosing one reasonable course of treatment in preference to another.”
Court rejects Rs.2.35 crore compensation claim against Hospital in Organ Transplantation case

“When a patient dies of suffers some mishap; there is a tendency to blame the doctor for this. Things have gone wrong and, therefore, somebody must be punished for it. However, it is well known that even the best professionals what to say of the average professional, sometimes have failures. A lawyer cannot win every case in his professional career but surely he cannot be penalized for losing a case provided he appeared in it and made his submissions.”

This judgment again underlines the important factor that proper medication, proper medical record saves Doctors. from clutches of medical negligence cases. You cannot stop anybody from filling the case, its end result may be different!!!

An article by Adv. Mohit Erande, Pune.

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