IE, Mumbai: Taking a serious note of medical violations by doctors practicing without any specialisation, the Maharashtra State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission ordered an ayurveda doctor to cough up Rs 7 lakh as compensation for openly tendering allopathic medicines to a patient, which caused his death.
The commission directed Dr R R Singh to pay additional Rs 5,000 to Pratibha Gamre for medical negligence. Pratibha’s husband Pandurang, a deputy superintendent at the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai in the market division, suffered a paralytic stroke in 2004. Soon after Gamre took ill, Pratibha took him to a nearby clinic in Kandivili and got him hospitalised.
According to Pratibha, her husband was hospitalised at a local Varadan Clinic on August 20, 2004, soon after he felt pain waist below. According to the complainant, Dr Singh hospitalised Gamre at his clinic, but did not attend to him. In fact, Gamre was left at the mercy of a compounder, who was not a qualified practitioner. When Gamre’s health started deteriorating, his wife asked for the doctor to attend to him, but his compounder went ahead and administered saline to Gamre. He died later that night. The postmortem revealed that the cause of death was heart attack. However, Dr Singh claimed that the compounder administered the saline without his permission.
While the clinic claimed it had not administered any medicine and that it was not responsible for Gamre’s death, a local court held Dr Singh guilty of medical negligence under the Maharashtra Medical Practitioner’s (MP)Act. While the district forum, which Pratibha had earlier approached, rejected her complaint claiming that a trial court had already decided on the case, state forum observed that the “district forum had erred in its judgment”.
“Forum ought to have come to the conclusion in respect of alleged deficiency in service on the part of opponent on the basis of material placed before it and the evidence led as per the provisions of Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (herein after referred to as ‘Act’ for brevity),” observed the state commission, rejecting the district forum’s claim that sessions court is superior to the consumer forum and its order was binding in this case.
Also, the commission relied on an independent doctor’s opinion to conclude that Dr Singh had shown medical negligence and administered allopathic drugs on the victim without qualifications.