Negotiable Instruments: Exhaustive Coverage by Adv Roma Bhagat. Register Now!
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  • In Abhishek V.S. & Ors. v. K.V.M. Hospital & Ors, NCDRC held that if a doctor fails in his duties to act with reasonable care, it will not be mere error of judgment, but it will amount to breach of duty of care and the patient would be entitled for compensation.
  • A Division Bench comprising Justice R.K. Agrawal and Dr. S.M. Kantikar observed that the treating doctors did exercise a reasonable degree of care during the emergency and hence are liable for compensation.
  • The background of this case is that three persons suffered injuries in a major road accident and were brought to K.V.M Hospital where one of the patients was examined by the doctors. 
  • She had suffered maxillofacial injuries which led to swelling of her face and neck. 
  • During the X-ray of her neck and chest, the fracture of the 6th cervical vertebra was not seen and it was presumed that she's not in a critical condition and subsequently the wiring procedure was performed on her. 
  • Prior to wiring, the doctors failed to secure the patient's airway and consequently, she died due to oxygen insufficiency.
  • A complaint of medical negligence was filed before the State Commission by the minor sons of the woman claiming compensation of Rs. 20,00,000/- with 12% interest.
  • It was contended by the appellants that the death could have been avoided, had the opposite parties taken proper precautions. 
  • It was further contended that the treating doctors failed in paying reasonable care and did not examine the patient properly.
  • The contention of the respondents was that the air entry was fair and equal on both sides, so they did not feel the need for intubation or tracheostomy.
  • After the First Aid procedure, the patient complained of breathlessness and proper steps were taken as per medical protocol including tracheostomy.
  • The commission looked into the Medical Literature on 'ABC' Trauma Management and observed that the treating doctors failed to follow the basics of ABC protocol and this resulted in failure in the duty of care. 
  • The commission further observed that it is not a mere "Error of Judgment" but it involved breach in duty of care on the part of the doctors and resultantly the patient died.
  • The NCDRC set aside the judgment of the State Commission and held that the appellants were entitled for compensation.
  • The Commission directed the respondents to pay Rs 30 Lakhs within a period of 3 months.
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