New Delhi, Apr 2 (PTI) The apex consumer commission has asked a hospital in West Bengal to pay Rs 8 lakh to a man, whose wife died hours after giving birth to a girl in 2000, saying the amount was adequate for mental agony in bringing up a motherless child.
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) allowed the appeal of the man against the West Bengal state commission’s order which had given a clean chit to the nursing home — Niranjan Smriti Kalyan Kendra also known as Priyabala Nursing Home — in Burdwan district.
“Having regard to the fact that the patient was only 32 years’ old with a life expectancy of 70 years and died within a day of C-section delivery, leaving behind an infant baby girl; was previously engaged as a private tutor, earning Rs 800-1,000 per month.
“The medical expenses incurred and the fact that there is no straight-jacket formula to quantify the loss of a wife to the husband, the loss of love and affection of a mother to the infant, we are of the considered view that a lump sum amount of Rs 8 lakh would be adequate and just compensation for the mental agony in rearing of motherless children,” an NCDRC bench presided by D K Jain said, while holding the hospital guilty of negligence.
The bench also noted that the doctor and the nursing staff failed to establish that they have performed the duty of care as per the standard established norms of normal medical parlance.
“This amounts to negligence on the part of the hospital, the treating doctor and the nursing staff, for which the complainant has to be compensated,” it said.
While passing the order in favour of complainant Jitendra Nath Chowdhury, the commission referred to a 2014 judgement of the Supreme Court which had observed that “the duty of a hospital is not limited to diagnosis and treatment but extends to looking after the safety and security of patients.” According to the complaint, Chowdhury’s wife underwent C-section surgery on May 22, 2000 and gave birth to a baby girl a few days before the due delivery date in June as the doctor suspected that the umbilical cord was around the neck of the foetus.
Soon after the delivery, the staff lifted the woman by their hands instead of using a stretcher to shift her to another room but dropped her on the floor in the process due to which she suffered head injuries, it said.
When the man asked for a doctor, the staff refused and said the woman had already been given medication, it alleged, adding that the woman’s condition kept deteriorating and delay on the part of the doctor in attending to her proved fatal.
During the proceedings, the counsel for the nursing home, doctors and the staff denied the allegations levelled by the complainant and claimed that such claims were not specified in the FIR.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.