The Union government has been ordered by the country’s apex consumer panel to pay Rs 5 lakh as compensation to one of its employees, whose wife had died of excess bleeding in a CGHS hospital soon after giving birth to a child through cesarean section over 13 years ago.
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) ordered the government to pay the compensation, as the woman died of excess bleeding after surgery with no blood available in blood bank of the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) maternity hospital.
The government ordered compensation for the victim’s husband Arvind Pandey holding the union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the CGHS director general, the hospital and its doctor who performed the surgery, jointly liable for damages.
The NCDRC held the doctor concerned, Dr Saran and the CGHS maternity hospital at R K Puram liable to pay damages saying they “failed to exercise due care on their part” leading to the death of Pandey’s wife.
“The concerned doctor and the hospital had failed to anticipate problems arising out of the complications and to take precautionary measures, such as arranging for the blood or keeping an ambulance ready for shifting the patient,” the NCDRC bench presided by Justice R C Jain said.
The NCDRC’s verdict came on Pandey’s complaint alleging his wife had died right after the delivery through cesarean section due to negligence of the CGHS maternity hospital and the doctors who were present during the surgery.
The CGHS hospital and the doctors had contended in their defence that the best possible treatment was given to Pandey’s wife, who was a high-risk patient, and that he was informed before hand to arrange blood or blood donors.
The hospital and the doctors had also contended that a medical board constituted on Pandey’s request had absolved them of the allegations of negligence.
The NCDRC bench also included member S K Naik rejected the contention saying the medical board’s observations also “imply that the doctors and the hospital failed to anticipate the contingency / complications that was so obvious to arise in this case, which they (hospital) had diagnosed to be of high-risk category.”
The NCDRC held the CGHS maternity hospital “primarily responsible” for the woman’s death saying as it specialised in attending to pregnancies and delivery of babies, it should have been equipped with all emergencies by having a blood bank as post-delivery bleeding could occur in any case.
Of the eight doctors who were accused of being negligent by Pandey, the NCDRC only held Dr Saran as liable saying she “failed to do what was expected of her” ordinarily.
Pandey in his complaint had said his wife had undergone several tests at the CGHS hospital during pregnancy and no infirmity or abnormality was suggested or diagnosed.
He had said on the day of surgery, a pre-operative check up also showed there were no complications and his wife gave birth to a healthy child by on the December 23, 1998 morning.
After the surgery, he was, however, asked by the doctors to arrange two units of blood, but he was able to arrange only one and when he returned he was informed that due to some serious complication his wife had to be transferred to Safdarjung Hospital for better management, said Pandey.
On reaching Safdarjung Hospital, the doctors there said his wife had already expired.